Council OK’s Planner’s Contract

BLYTHEWOOD – Town Council approved a list of action items on Monday evening including a Community Planning and Development Services Contract for Michael Criss, the Town’s planning consultant; a zoning text amendment to various residential districts allowing neighborhood recreation facility swimming pools and funding up to $4,900 for a Halloween Festival in the town park in late October. It even approved the park committee’s park bench design and estimated cost, which was not on the agenda.

Park committee chairman Jim McLean reported to Council the committee’s recommendation for the purchase of five Escalante Model 1547 plastic wood park benches at $864 each for a total of $4,986.20. After approving the bench design and estimated cost, Council recommended the matter next go before the Town’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) for approval. McLean said the committee was not asking the Town to pay for the benches, but would seek donations through the park’s fundraising foundation if the ARB approved the bench’s design.

In other business, Council thanked Michaela Barno for her volunteer work to organize and run the Town’s farmer’s market during the summer. The market will be open again in the fall, Barno said.

In his monthly report on the Manor, Booth Chilcutt, the facility’s director, said that while September had seven fewer paid bookings than it had last September, he was encouraged by the changes they had made on the business side of the operations, noting that 43 percent of last year’s bookings were at no charge in contrast to 23 percent at no charge this year.

“Most of this year’s free bookings are for town government meetings,” Chilcutt explained.

Chilcutt’s assistant, Pat Connolly, reported that he was making considerable progress booking business and industry events during the week.

“We’re doing much better during the week,” Connolly said.

Chilcutt also proposed to Council two other park events in addition to a family-friendly Halloween Event at Doko Meadows on Oct. 31 and a Sept. 24 – Oct. 29 Farmer’s Market. He suggested a Blythewood Poetry Week Jan. 17 – Jan. 24, 2015. He also suggested a Blythewood celebration of Black History Month. The month-long event will celebrate the rich history of Blythewood’s African -American community. The events will include music, art, poetry, a live theatre production, gospel singing, story-telling and discussions.

The next regular Town Council meeting will be Sept. 25 with a workshop on Sept. 18 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Manor.