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Ft. Wright Hears Feedback on Future of Parks

At Ft. Wright city council, Mayor Dave Hatter addressed an issue from the previous meeting where the city voted to close the Ramage Civil War Museum.

Hatter said that he was not happy with his behavior at the meeting in which he was in an argument with the museum's board chair.

"I have had some time to reflect since the last council meeting where I perhaps did not behave in the most appropriate fashion at certain points during that meeting," he said. "As I get older and try to be a little wiser, a little calmer, and a little nicer in general, I feel kind of bad about how I behaved that night."

Hatter apologized specifically to some who had attended the meeting.

He also said that he stands by his position on the museum, and thanked the council for their support on the closure.

"I certainly behaved in a way that I would say was rather childish and inappropriate at times," Hatter continued. "I feel bad about it. I don't want to represent the City of Ft. Wright that way, and I don't want people to think that you guys (council members) think that sort of thing is OK. So I feel bad about it, and I just want to apologize to you, to everyone at home, and anyone who was here. 

"Looking back on it, it was kind of ridiculous at times." 

In other business, Ft. Wright city council listened to suggestions about the future of its parks.

Reside Joni Pille suggested pickleball courts.

"I don't know how many of you even know what pickle ball is," she said. "Has anyone ever played it?  Anyway, it has been around for about 55 years, it started in the Seattle area. It is the fastest growing sport in the country, and one of the top four sports worldwide."

Mayor Dave Hatter said that he has played it and said it was fun, although he wasn't very good at it.

Pille said that other cities are supporting the growth of the sport and wants Ft. Wright to, too.

"Let's do something to our citizens to get out there, get exercise, stay healthy, and get the community to come out together," Pille said. "Everybody is doing something."

In response to questions, she explained that the hard-surface courts are about 20 by 40 feet. 

Mayor Hatter said that they will take the suggestion into account.

Theresa Wilkins and Krista Schafer also came to talk about the parks.

Wilkins said she that the city should consider something more natural. She pointed to the Bernheim Forest's playground, outside Louisville.

She said that her kids played on the trees and the stones for hours. Her son also supported the idea before council.

Councilmember Bernie Wessels said that sounds simpler, easier to maintain, and cheaper.

"I'm all for it," he said.

City Administrator Jill Bailey offered a presentation on what she thought could work at Volunteer Park.

Bailey explained that after consulting with a company specializing in playground equipment, the park could accommodate some features that include a climbing area and a wooden and plastic train for children to climb on. The cost would be around $90,000. The city budgeted around $25,000, but Bailey said that it would be possible to fund the rest.

The parents at the meeting said that the suggestion was old-fashioned. They asked council to think about the more natural playgrounds.

Council passed the second reading of an ordinance which set the waste collection fees for the year at $197 per unit per year, up from last year which was $183 per unit per year. Bailey explained that this is a two-year contract with Rumpke, and the price will stay the same until June 30, 2023.

The second reading of an ordinance setting the tax rate passed.  The tax rate is $.265 per $100 of assessed value for real property, and $.409 per $100 of assessed value for personal property. The rates are the same as last year, but lower than the compensating rate.

-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Mayor Hatter addressed council, and told them that after he had gone over the meeting about the dissolution of the Ramage Civil War Museum, he was not happy with his behavior.

"I have had some time to reflect since the last council meeting where I perhaps did not behave in the most appropriate fashion at certain points during that meeting," he said.  "As I get older and try to be a little wiser, a little calmer, and a little nicer in general, I feel kind of bad about how I behaved that night.  I want to apologize to Mrs. Mains and the folks who came with her.  I still disagree with their perspective on the parking, but I don't think I handled that probably as well as I could have.  I don't want to make excuses, but I knew what was coming, and that it was going to be very contentious. So, again, I apologize. I certainly did not behave in a professional, reasonable, kind way. I am trying to be more empathetic, nicer to people, and more respectful to people, and I don't feel like I did a very good job there.

"My last comment, obviously leading into the conversation about the museum, while I stand by what we did one hundred percent, and I appreciate your support in what I believe to ve several serious issues on many fronts, I certainly behaved in a way that I would say was rather childish and inappropriate at times.  I feel bad about it; I  don't want to represent the city of Ft Wright that way, and I don't want people to think that you guys (council members) think that sort of thing is okay. So I feel bad about it, and I just want to apologize to you, to everyone at home, and anyone who was here.  Looking back on it, it was kind of ridiculous at times."