SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mayor Frank Mullens said the city of South Charleston has reduced its debt from $6.5 million in 2007, when he took office, to less than $2 million at a City Council meeting on Thursday.The new figure comes with the payoff of the remaining debt on the Little Creek Country Club golf course effective Friday, Mullens said."The golf course payoff is three years ahead of schedule," he said. "That is a huge accomplishment, and soon the city will be completely out of debt."The loan on the Memorial Ice Arena is the city's only remaining debt, according to Mullens.
Also Thursday, Police Chief Brad Rinehart introduced police officer recruits Aaron Chapman, 25; Tyler Dawson, 22; and Jeff Ellis, 32, to council before they were sworn in by Mayor Mullens."This is a good bunch and their addition to the department brings us up to full staff," Rinehart said.According to the chief, the men will begin classes at the police academy next week and are scheduled to begin serving the city in early March. City Attorney Michael Moore reported that a request for rezoning an area of Spring Hill to accommodate development had been made by representatives of Sheetz, a 24-hour gas and convenience store chain.Mullens introduced and council passed the first reading of an ordinance to rezone Park Avenue and MacDonald Street near Spring Hill Cemetery to allow Sheetz to proceed with a Department of Highways traffic study and negotiations to buy the property.According to City Engineer Steve DeBarr, there are parking lots and a couple of rental units existing on the site.It is too early in the process to have an opening date scheduled, according to Moore.Council also accepted a bid from Custom Office Furniture to provide furnishing for the bar and dining room at the newly renovated Little Creek Country Club house, totaling just over $67,000."It's going to be really nice," said Councilman Jeff Means.The public will be able to see and enjoy it at a grand opening event, according to Mullens.Recreation Director Arnett Hoston also reported that the Recreation Center gym floor had been delivered and installed.
"The painting is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 16," he said.The city also recognized the Rev. Robert Davis of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Spring Hill for 27 years of spiritual and community leadership at the meeting.Davis has been a resident for 40 years and worked as a postman throughout the city."I thank God for having served here as a pastor and a mailman," Davis said.Lastly, council proclaimed Sept. 17-23 as United States Constitution Week and encouraged residents to take time during that week to learn about the Constitution and express gratitude for it.