A representative of Granville Manor addressed Parsons City Council Tuesday evening with concerns about local housing, roads and security.
Sheila Rice, owner of Granville - an assisted living facility in downtown Parsons - spoke to Council about a vacated building that sits next to her property; an alley, Bloom Lane, that stretches alongside the manor; and the need for law enforcement regarding attempted break-ins and illegal parking at her facility.
"I would like to see that whole block be restricted to businesses," Rice said, stating her desire to keep a professional look to the block where Granville rests.
Currently, she said, a vacated building located near the manor plays host to both animals and unregistered residents. In winter, cats, mice and groundhogs can be seen around the property. During summer, people can be seen sitting on the porch of the house.
Rice said the people occupying the porch are not the owners of the house. She has attempted to purchase the property but she said the owner is unwilling to sell.
"I don't want my property to depreciate any more than it is," she said.
Regarding depreciation, Rice also mentioned the trailer court across from her property.
She said both the court and the vacated house do not lend Granville an air of professionalism.
Parsons Mayor Dorothy Judy said the main focus, in the present, should be the vacated house.
"I think we need to take care of the animal problem," she said, noting that it is something that currently affects the business and the surrounding area. It can be addressed more readily than the summertime squatters an issue that can be discussed if it arises, come warm weather.
It was suggested by council that Rice speak to the Parsons Building Commission. She will be working with them in the future to handle the animal problem.
Following this issue, Rice told council she would like to see Bloom Lane widened and paved. Presently, it is covered in gravel and is hard to maintain.
Council agreed with Rice, saying that a paved road would be easier to plow, for snowfall removal, and would make access to the manor easier. A widened lane would also provide for extra parking for employees of Granville.
For this issue, council suggested that Rice speak directly to the Parsons City Streets Committee, which consists of council members Phillip Fansler, Melissa Jones and Hoy Roy. Rice will be dealing with that committee to further address issues with the alley.
Lastly, Rice mentioned to council that, for two weeks in a row, motion sensors on Granville property have alerted employees to attempted unauthorized access to the manor.
Rice said both access attempts have taken place at approximately 3 a.m. There are narcotics within the facility, she said, and she suspected that the substances could lead to an attempted burglary.
She was told by council that any employee's first action in such a situation should be to call 911.
Rice spoke directly to City Police Chief Edward Surguy about the burglary issue and also about a handicap parking space on Granville property which is routinely being violated.
Visitors, she said, are parking in the handicap space because it offers convenient access to the building. She said she is concerned with availability for those who need the space, due to physical limitations, and for emergency crews who could use the space for quick building entry.
Rice asked council, and Surguy, to ticket visitors who are illegally using the space.
The issue is complicated by Rice's admission that delivery crews and drivers of the Granville van use the space for easy access.
To remedy this complication, Councilman Tim Auvil suggested that a different sign could be placed in the spot. A sign marked "Authorized Access Only" may cover necessary parties, he said.
The parking issue will also be discussed with the City Streets Committee. Surguy said additional attention may be placed toward enforcing parking restrictions.
In other news:
Judy had only positive words to say about Surguy's service as Parsons Police Chief.
"He has done us good," she said. "He had respect for me and I had respect for him."
Surguy responded in kind, praising council for their support of his service on the Parsons Police and for his transition to the Sheriff's Department.
"I just want to thank the council for their respect," he said. "It's a step in my life I need to make at this time."
However, they also said it's a piece of equipment which is often required to complete city projects.
"It's used almost daily," Auvil said.
Proper care needs to be implemented, though, to extend the life span of a new saw. In particular, Auvil mentioned that using an attached water hose which keeps concrete dust to a minimum is essential.
"For the new one, (city workers) need to utilize the water hose," Auvil said.
The city's current saw has been used since approximately 2005, council members said. It has been serviced in the past and is past its prime.
Ultimately, council voted to purchase a 16-inch saw.
Contact Casey Houser by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.