The transfer of Walton Park to the Mineral Volunteer Fire Department is going ahead as planned.
Concerns over a potential conflict of interest for Lewis Keller due to his ownership of property adjacent to the park were addressed by Mayor Pam Harlowe at the Mineral Town Council’s regular business meeting on Nov. 12.
“It was my understanding that there was no conflict of interest with Mr. Keller because his piece of property was only one lot, whereas Mr. [Ed] Jarvis’s [property] was the whole length of the park. So there was no chance of Mr. Keller having monetary gain if the park changed hands,” she said.
Keller was appointed last spring as an interim member of council, filling the seat vacated by Jessie Shupe. Keller voted in favor of the motion to transfer ownership of Walton Park to the fire department at council’s Oct. 15 meeting. The motion passed with a vote of 3-2-1; Jarvis abstained.
The motion also stipulated that, should the fire department ever wish to relinquish possession of the park, ownership would return to the town.
Ed Kube, who was elected to the seat in a special election on Nov. 5, had sent a letter to members of the council and the town attorney relaying concerns over Keller’s potential conflict of interest.
Kube moved to rescind the vote on the transfer of ownership. The motion did not receive a second.
Town Attorney Andrea Erard reported to the council that the fire department is in the process of putting together a deed of transfer of the park, which will be submitted to council for approval before the transfer is finalized.
Kube made a motion that the fire department give a written report to council within 60 days detailing their plans to mantain, operate and improve the park, and that they submit annual reports of planned activities.
Councilman Dr. William Thomas seconded the motion, opening it for discussion. Vice Mayor Michael Warlick expressed concern over the 60-day time frame, commenting that he didn’t feel that was enough time.
“I don’t see how we can demand that of them,” he said.
Kube offered to amend the motion to allow for more time, but no other time frame was offered.
The motion failed in a 4-2 vote, with Thomas and Kube casting the votes in favor.