2017-09-13 / School News

Local Girl Scouts group will use train depot lot

by Trish Rudder

The Bath Town Council awarded the use of the train depot lot exclusively to the Morgan County Girl Scouts Service Unit to raise funds at the Apple Butter Festival next month.

At the September 5 meeting, the council voted four to two to allow only the Girl Scouts to use the Williams Street depot lot during the Apple Butter festival after Councilman Rick Weber made the motion. In the past, the Bath Development Authority (BDA) has used the lot for fundraising by parking cars.

Heather Weschler of the Girl Scouts organization requested the use of the lot for car parking at the August 15 council meeting. Mayor Scott Merki had said that he wanted the BDA to work with the Girl Scouts to share the space. After the meeting, Weschler said she spoke with BDA president Ken Craft and he agreed to share the space and work together during the festival.

But during a BDA special meeting on August 22, some members did not want to share the space with the Girl Scouts, Merki said, and Craft wrote a letter to Merki that the decision should be made by the town council, since the town owns the train depot property.

Merki said the Girl Scout representatives who attended the meeting “were treated horribly” and the BDA asked the Girl Scouts to leave the meeting.

“I was appalled,” Merki said.

“We need to show these young people what it is to be an adult,” he said.

Weber said the Girl Scouts work two weekends a month washing cars or having bake sales to earn money. They have already raised $1000 and they need to raise $1500 more to meet the $2500 cost to send 150 Girl Scouts to Camp Rock in Capon Bridge for three days in the spring. He said no organization has asked to use the lot for parking before the Girl Scouts.

Town Recorder Susan Webster said when she was the mayor, the lot was owned by CSX before being donated to the town, and the BDA began using the lot to park cars at Apple Butter.

“We have a lot of hardships here in the town. We need to work on each request and it’s not solely the purpose of the BDA to use the lot,” Merki said.

The BDA recommended splitting the two days between the Girl Scouts and BDA and had voted on that at the end of their meeting, Merki said. It was not unanimous, he said.

“I’m asking council to let the Girl Scouts use the train depot lot,” Merki said. The BDA can apply next year to request the lot for parking, he said.

Weber asked the council members to award the train depot lot for parking to the Girl Scouts for both days this year.

Girl Scouts representative Laura Haber said any funding over $1500 made at the parking lot will be given back to the town, but Merki said later the town would not accept it, and the organization should keep it for the future needs.

Before the council completed the voting, Councilman Andy Swaim suggested the BDA and the Girl Scouts share the parking. “We’re throwing their agreement out the window.”

Merki asked Weber if he wanted to amend his motion to include the BDA this year, but Weber said he did not.

Council members Rose Jackson, Chris Chapman, Susan Webster and Rick Weber voted for the motion; Andy Swaim and Elizabeth Skinner voted against it.

The Girl Scout representatives who attended the council meeting then gave the council members a rousing ovation in approval.

Business owner Barb Wolfe recommended the town have an application form with a deadline to apply for the use of the train depot lot at Apple Butter, similar to the procedure used to choose applicants that apply for hotel/motel funding.

Return to top