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South Hills residents raise coyote concerns at Charleston City Council

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Hills residents raised concerns at Monday's Charleston City Council meeting over a coyote problem. Several animals have been spotted throughout the area for more than a month, residents said.

Denise Skyles of Circle Road said she saw a coyote in her neighbor's driveway one morning last week.

"This is valid," Skyles said. "This is not just sightings here and there. ... Something's got to be done."

Martha Major, of Oakmont Road, said she also saw six coyotes through her kitchen window recently. Major also spoke on behalf of Circle Road resident Debbie Cobb, whose time to speak expired before she could finish.

Holding up an enlarged photo, Major said Cobb's cat was killed by coyotes recently. The photo was of its remains.

"DNR has said they never come that close to peoples' houses," Major said. "This [photo] was within a foot of her house."

Mayor Danny Jones said residents' concerns are "not falling on deaf ears," but that the city doesn't have the jurisdiction to solve the coyote problem.

"DNR has the jurisdiction. We don't," Jones said. "We are working with them to see if we can come up with any kind of solution."

Also Monday, council members approved the latest version of the Kanawha Trestle and Rail Trail project.

The first phase of the project includes bike lanes and a walkway along Kanawha Boulevard from Patrick Street to Magic Island.

The original trail system included a plan to repurpose the CSX trestle as a pedestrian greenway, which would connect the north and south sides of the Kanawha River. The city revised the plan after a feasibility study found the Kanawha Trestle's structural integrity to be poor and costly to repair.

City Manager David Molgaard told the city's finance committee, which meets prior to council, that there are a few differences between the old plan and the new.

"It makes it very clear that the bikeway project along the Boulevard is part of the master plan," Molgaard said.

The revision has two trail extensions: one end will take riders to South Charleston's Mound district. The other will extend through downtown to Charleston's East End.

In other business, City Council:

* Renewed a lease agreement with Greyhound for its garage at Reynolds and Lee streets.

* Authorized purchases of E-10 gasoline and diesel fuel through bids received by the Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority.

* Said it was OK to submit an application to the transportation alternative grant program for sidewalk repairs between Overbrook Elementary School and George Washington High School.

* OK'd the submission of an application to the West Virginia Division of Energy's Local Energy Efficiency Grant Program.

* Passed a budget amendment to transfer funds between various city accounts for projects.

For instance, $25,166 was moved from the Engineering Department's professional services account to its capital outlay account for the purchase of storm water video camera inspection equipment.

Also, $45,000 was transferred from the general fund to the Building Commission's contract services fund for demolitions, while $24,804 was transferred from Parks and Recreation's contract services account to the capital outlay account for playground equipment at Magic Island and Westmoreland Park.

* Approved the purchase of citywide radio transmission systems for the Charleston fire and police departments.

Jones also made a proclamation to designate Saturday after Thanksgiving as "Small Business Saturday in Charleston," which is part of a national effort of encouraging residents to support local merchants.

Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.molenda@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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