Local groups make pitch for bed tax funds


WILMINGTON — Wilmington City Council heard from two parties who made requests for funds from the bed tax during Thursday night’s meeting.

The first came from the Clinton County Historical Society, which requested $2,500 to build a new website. Director/Curator Kay Fisher cited that there were many out-of-state visitors last year.

According to Fisher, last year they saw visitors coming in from eight states, and more than 1,700 visitors to their website.

“Already in 2017, we’ve had people from Nevada, Missouri, Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico, California, and Pennsylvania,” said Fisher. “These people do contribute to the bed tax. If just half of the people stayed here last year, that’d be $1,000. We do have people make this a destination and they get their information from the website that lists their families and resources.”

Council member Matt Purkey said he saw the points being made but said that a website is more of a utility nowadays.

“I feel that a website is just sort of something that every place has to have. But how much traffic is coming specifically because of the website, or just the wealth of information at the historical society?” said Purkey.

Council member Kelsey Swindler endorsed the idea of the historical society getting an updated website, but didn’t think the request is the right fit for the fund.

“It’s a standard marketing expense, a great one and I think it’ll be very valuable. But if there’s a way to pay for it outside of tax funds then I think that would be best,” said Swindler.

The council voted against the request by a 4-3 vote, with Swindler, Purkey, Lonnie Stuckert, and Joe Spicer voting no.

The second request was from Lisa Parlette, who requested $8,000 to help lay the groundwork for an indoor running center.

Parlette told council the idea is that it would be more than just an indoor track facility, and that it would be open to the public and be used for multiple programs, sporting events, and by a variety groups. She also highlighted that this could help combat the opioid crisis by keeping youths busy.

The building would be named in honor of Lisa’s daughter, Jenna Parlette, a Wilmington College student and cross country runner who died three days after collapsing at a race in 2013. $20,000 has already been raised through a grassroots campaign, according to Parlette.

“I feel that we’re laying the groundwork for what could be a great facility for Wilmington and beyond,” said Parlette.

Parlette told council that she along with Angela Mitchell, an associate professor at WC, met last week with MS Consultants Inc. of Columbus along with WC President Jim Reynolds, WC Athletic Administrator Vice President Terry Rupert, and Port Authority Executive Director Dan Evers to talk about a possible location for it.

Parlette said the idea evolved after she and her daughter had traveled to other colleges for events and her daughter saying that Wilmington College needs one.

Council decided to postpone voting for the request until the Sept. 21 council meeting. Parlette told them there will be a meeting at 5 p.m. on Sept. 6 at the college to discuss the facility further and that they are welcome to attend.

Also during council:

• Don Wells, appointed representative for the Clinton County Community Action Program, gave a report on its statistical impact made in 2016. Among the impacts listed included housing being provided to 442 individuals, and two purchased residential units were rehabilitated; the food pantry served 1,889 boxes and assisted 2,293 people from 788 households, with food valued at $150,714; 66 gas cards were distributed to assist clients with medical transportation for appointments outside of Clinton County; 27,083 meals were delivered with the Home Delivered Meals Program, while 6,327 were served to senior participants in the Congregate Meals program; and 102 children were provided high-quality preschool by Head Start.

• During the Asset, Acquisition and Use Committee, the council approved an ordinance authorizing Director of Public Safety Brian Shidaker to advertise and receive bids for the sale of the property at 481 Columbus St., the Rainbow Village Child Care Center.

• During the parks committee report, chairperson Bill Liermann asked people to be responsible with their litter and trash at the parks.

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Lisa Parlette, mother of Jenna Parlette, speaks to council about the possibility of building an indoor track facility. Jenna Parlette was a Wilmington College student who died after collapsing at a track in Indiana in 2013.
http://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2017/08/web1_DSC_0538.jpgLisa Parlette, mother of Jenna Parlette, speaks to council about the possibility of building an indoor track facility. Jenna Parlette was a Wilmington College student who died after collapsing at a track in Indiana in 2013. John Hamilton | News Journal

By John Hamilton

jhamilton@civitasmedia.com

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574