By Frank Lewis
Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen brought Portsmouth City Council up to speed on several things going on in the city at Monday night’s city council meeting.
“We continue to investigate and look at six candidates to be hired by the police department,” Allen said. “This is a lengthy and time intensive process but we want to make sure we get good quality individuals in our police department and that has been going on.”
Allen said six current members of the police department recently underwent crisis intervention training and became certified mental health crisis intervention specialists and that the city’s intention is to send more people through that program.
“We are working to remove the graffiti at Mound Park,” Allen said. “I wasn’t out there today to see if they were able to get it (done) because they were looking for some sort of solvent to remove the graffiti. I went out there last week and could not believe the amount of graffiti that is all over that park.”
Allen said the city-owned McKinley Pool opened on Monday and explained the week-long delay.
“There was an issue with getting lifeguards,” Allen said. “I believe that has been resolved.”
Allen said, during the weekend’s cleanup activities the city opened its transfer station and a lot of city employees participated in the event.
“They picked up 90 tons of garbage,” Allen said. “And we probably would like to see about doing that in the fall (again).”
Allen brought council up to date on the recent repairs done to Branch Rickey Park.
“The masonry work is done and the transformers were done and they went up and they completed fixing some of the wiring problems and replacing some of the cross arms that hold the lights,” Allen said. “I imagine today (Monday) they’re finishing up replacing light bulbs that are out.”
Allen said workers are working on pavement markings installing thermoplastic lane markings.
“The resurfacing opened up and we got a good bid, the same company that did it last year,” Allen said.
Allen said the city impound facility is ready to open and with passage of legislation Monday, police can begin immediately to operate the facility on Washington Street.
“Lawson Run (wastewater system) – the only thing left on that was some ground restoration, planting grass seed,” Allen said.
Allen said the Portsmouth Fire Department was out on Monday putting Storch fittings on all fire hydrants. He also called for an executive session to discuss a possible real estate transaction, presumably concerning the city-owned property at 720 and 722 Sixth Street known as the Babcock building.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.