Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 20, 2013

Former Princeton fire chief Vest sworn into city council slot

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Former Princeton Fire Chief Shawn Vest was sworn in Tuesday to replace the city council seat recently vacated by John E. Wilborn.

Princeton Mayor Patricia “Pat” Wilson said John E. Wilborn tendered his resignation as the Ward I Council Member effective Jan. 23, 2013 for “personal reasons.” Wilborn had served on the Princeton City Council since 2004.

Vest will serve in the Ward I seat until the end of Wilborn’s term on July 1. Vest retired as fire chief in 2012 and his position was filled by current Fire Chief Chad Bailey. The council also recognized Vest for his 20 years of service to the Princeton Fire Department and presented him with a plaque from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin commemorating his service.

“It was an honor working for the city,” Vest said of his time with department. “It was the best job in the world. I loved the people I worked with. Thank you, everybody.”

City Manager Elke Doom updated the council on the Stafford Drive flood-proofing project. The city previously received a $250,000 from the Hugh I. Shott, Jr. Foundation to help finance the $500,000 flood-proofing project.

“We have been trying so hard to get the money needed to deal with the flooding issues,” Doom said. “We have gotten in touch with lawmakers both locally and in Washington. They have been supportive, but are not sure if there is much they can provide us financially. We are going to apply for another Small Cities Block Grant again and hope they see how desperately we need these funds.”

Vice-Mayor Marshall Lytton informed the board the finance and administration committee had approved a request by Lori McKinney of the RiffRaff Arts Collective to paint a mural on the back of the town square adjacent to the parking lot. The board voted 7-0 to approve the request to paint the mural contingent upon approval of the plan by the city board of zoning appeals.

In a 7-0 vote, the board authorized Doom to apply for five Governor’s Community Participation Grants including $14,000 for capital improvements for the Vietnam Veteran’s Blue-Gray Chapter, $2,000 for the Princeton Railroad Museum, $5,000 for the city’s demolition program, $1,000 for AutumnFest, and $1,000 for computers for the city police department.

The board also voted 7-0 to place the Clairmont Hills subdivision into Ward III for city election purposes. The subdivision was annexed into the city by the Mercer County Commission on May 9, 2012 on a temporary boundary adjustment. The board also granted in a 7-0 vote to approve a B&O incentive to the Jungle Lagoon Pet Store opening on Stafford Drive.

The board also approved the hiring of new firefighter Adam Branscombe, who was sworn in at the meeting by City Clerk Kenneth Clay.

Sarah Elswick , community and economic development coordinator with AmeriCorps VISTA presented the council with a beautification booklet.

“The tool kit here has low-cost, high-impact beautification projects anyone can do, from the city to students to civic organizations,” Elswick said. “There are ideas for pedestrian areas, landscaping, murals and environmental arts. The tool kit is available to the public online and provides estimated expenses as well as resources to cover those expenses.”

Wilson said the council would be reviewing the booklet.

“We are always interested in beautification projects and sprucing up our town,” Wilson said.

— Contact Kate Coil at