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New RH council members seated
New RH city council members
Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter, left, swears in new council members Mark Ott and Steve Scholar. Photo by Katrina Goforth.

The Richmond Hill City Council met in regular session Tuesday with a smaller council than the full four seats usually occupied, but all seats were soon filled with the swearing-in of new council members Mark Ott and Steve Scholar. Once all members were seated, the council discussed departmental projects and updates.

The Richmond Hill Police Department promoted Rick Olesky to the rank of sergeant Tuesday. Chief Mitch Shores said the promotion does not come lightly. Shores said Olesky has more than 20 years of law enforcement experience, and like more than 50 percent of the police force in Richmond Hill, has military experience – over 20 years, in fact. Shores said the sergeant is the face and voice of the force, and Olesky has proven himself to be worthy of it. Olesky’s wife Robin pinned the new rank on her husband with family applauding in the audience.

Chief Shores also requested the council consider a resolution to declare surplus equipment to donate old Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) gear helmets to Bryan County Emergency Management for the SWAT medics. Shores said the force has new helmets and no longer needs the old ones. The council approved the resolution.

The council was updated on Planning, Zoning and Code Enforcement projects currently underway. According to Scott Allison, those projects include a free-standing sign for Waffle House and Marco’s Pizza, the painting of a mast arm at Exit 87, matching street name signs on Ford Ave., and additional crepe myrtles on Highway 17 and Highway 144. He told the council that the mural on Ford Ave. has been completed.

The Administrative and Personnel Department put a request before the council from Jerry’s Lounge LLC for an alcohol license. The establishment is located at 3741 US Highway 17, Suite 500. The council approved the request.

The council also approved a similar request for an alcohol license from Robert Dean Kelley for alcohol consumption at Kelley’s Irish Pubs, Inc. at 10134 Ford Ave., Suite B7.

City Manager Chris Lovell presented an item to the council to adjust the Sterling Creek Park excavation project. Prior, Scholar made an amendment to this agenda item to add “and signage in an amount not to exceed $60,000.”

Lovell said the excavation would cost approximately $45,000 and the signage would cost approximately $15,000. The council approved the adjustment.

Council member Kristi Cox said the project has been years in the making with ample discussion over it between the current and former council members and city staff. “We do not take these decisions lightly,” Cox said.

The Grand Marshall of the 2nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, Don Singleton spoke to the council and community following the meeting. He invited everyone to come to the parade to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The parade is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. following the Christmas parade route.

In public comments, Karen Boles Grant presented a file of information to the new council members detailing her communication with former council members and mayors and past council agenda items concerning a park promised to her family a decade ago.

Boles Community Park on Harris Trail Road is the park she referred to at the meeting.

She commended Mayor Russ Carpenter for being the first mayor to respond to her questions about the progress of the park, which her family does not believe has been taken up by former councils.

Carpenter made a promise to Grant that at the end of this process her family would be proud of Boles Park.

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