Park receives grant for water line

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont County has received funding that will allow plans for water system installation to proceed this year at the Eastern Ohio Regional Industrial Park property near Barnesville.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Belmont County commissioners, Belmont County Port Authority Director Larry Merry reported that $150,000 was awarded to the project for water line installation by the Appalachian Regional Commission through the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association.

So far through grants and local money committed to the new industrial park site, around $2 million has been earmarked to the its development.

County officials commended everyone involved in the team effort that has kept the project moving forward.

“It’s taken the effort of everyone working together,” said Merry. “That’s the key to it. Economic development is tough, but when you’ve got everyone pulling on the rope together in the same direction, that’s when things get done.”

Barnesville Councilmen Brad Hudson and Ronald Bischof, along with Barnesville Village Administrator Roger Deal, also attended Wednesday’s meeting for the announcement.

Merry said Deal was involved with the grant application process for the ARC funding that was recently approved.

So far, the Eastern Ohio Regional Industrial Park has received $300,000 for the park through the donation of property from Oxford Mining. The Port Authority now owns 200 acres north of Barnesville with a long-term option to secure more than 800 acres.

The park has also received a $750,000 Job-Ready Sites grant through the Ohio Department of Development, with a local commitment of $250,000 from the county to match. Two grants, both in the amounts of $175,000, were also received from the Industrial Site Improvement Fund and 629 Fund, which are also through the Ohio Department of Development.

Last year, a new road was installed into the Eastern Ohio Regional Industrial Park property from Ohio 800. Merry said plans are moving forward now to bring natural gas and broadband Internet services to the park as well.

“We’re getting close,” said Merry, who noted that a contract for the waterline installation into the industrial park site should be put out to bid in the coming months. “It will be constructed this year.”

In other action Wednesday, commissioners received three bids received for the installation of new security cameras and related systems. The difference in the amounts in the bids received was vast, with amounts ranging from $35,788 to $120,392. Erb Electric of Bridgeport submitted the lowest bid.

Commissioners moved to turn all bids over to Sheriff Fred Thompson for his review and recommendation.

Officials said there are a few “blind spots” in the new jail addition that cannot be seen with the current cameral surveillance system. The new cameras will help jail personnel monitor all areas of the facility, which will increase safety and reduce potential liabilities, officials noted.

The new additions to the surveillance system will include 19 additional color dome cameras with varifocal lenses, seven dome cameras, two bullet cameras for the outdoor recreation area, one digital video recorder, four flat-screen LCD television monitors, plus related equipment.

General fund money will be used to pay for the new camera system. Commissioners noted that the jail’s commissary fund provides money that goes back into the county’s general fund, so the jail is in a way helping to pay for the new improvements.

County commissioners commended Sheriff Thompson and new Belmont County Jail Administrator Brent Carpenter for recommending these needed improvements.

Also Wednesday, the board:

  • approved the allocation of $18,750 to the Belmont County Department of Development/Community Improvement Corporation for program operations for the first quarter of 2011.
  • invited the public to attend the first Town Hall meeting of the year this Monday at 7 p.m. at the Flushing Township building.

“The public is welcome,” said Commissioner Matt Coffland. “We hope to hit all 16 townships this year.”

  • reiterated the fact that the county is accepting applications for county residents interested in serving on a volunteer basis on various county boards. Anyone interested in a board appointment can contact the commissioner’s office at (740) 699-2155.

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