Martins Ferry working on infrastructure

MARTINS FERRY – City council reviewed plans for infrastructure improvements during Wednesday’s meeting.

Service Director Chuck Bennett reported progress on the ongoing effort to clean up trees and weeds on Second Street and South 10th Street as well as cutting on Ohio Route 7.

The water department has also been occupied with repairs to water breaks and leaks. Hydrant rebuilding and replacement has also continued. Bennett noted that several lines cross through the streams.

Pothole patching was stymied by a brief breakdown on the part of the city’s supplier, but the issue has been rectified and repairs continue as time and weather permit.

Ditch repairs along Alumni and School roads continue, along with weed cutting along the Colerain Pike. The drainage problem has also been addressed on the 1200 Block of Hughes Avenue. Asphalt will be applied once the work settles.

Council passed a resolution authorizing a five-year expenditure of up to $450,000 for a new fire truck. The vehicle costs about $432,000 with legal fees attached.

Council also approved a purchase order of $8,998 for a CHIP grant.

In addition, Martins Ferry’s share of a county grant from Moving Ohio Forward comes to $58,000. The city will spend the amount and submit to the county for reimbursement.

In other matters, the Parks and Recreation Board has submitted a Sprout grant to the SPARK foundation with the goal of establishing a new program of art classes at the recreation center for children ages eight to 12. If successful, the pilot program from January through April may be a year-round event.

The city has also applied for an NRA grant to teach children ages pre-kindergarten through third grade to avoid gun accidents in the home. Martins Ferry will know if it is approved for the grant by December.

City employees also met with FEMA representatives regarding July’s heavy storm damage. A national emergency was declared. The city is in the process of putting together four pre-applications. Funding will take about 18 months.

After a meeting with the Ohio Department of Development, an extension from December to late spring was also secured for the CHIP programs so the application process could be ironed out.

The city is also moving forward on plans to demolish the 50 structures the municipality now maintains. They are awaiting clarification of legal issues.

In addition, the city is in the process of purchasing a piece of railroad property behind the Pit Stop. The city has been maintain the property and plans are to asphalt it with other sections to form off-street parking.

On Saturday, the city will hold a cleanup day 8 a.m. to noon at the city garage at Center and First streets. Items that will be accepted include paint, tires, building or construction materials. Those dropping off items must show a driver’s license or a utility bill stub with proof of Martins Ferry residency. Electronics Recycling Services of Bellaire will also be on site collecting old electronics including computers, televisions and copiers. The Bellaire business is also open all year to accept electronics.

For any questions, call (740) 633-6151.

In other matters, council held the second reading to modify an ordinance specifying penalties for building code violations.

Council also held the first reading of a motion to accept amounts and rates determined by the budget commission, authorizing tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor.

Regarding the cemetery, maintenance work continues and flags will be planted by Nov. 9 for the planned veterans celebration. They will be left up for a week and returned for Memorial Day.

A Trick or Treat in the Park sponsored by the police department is set for Oct. 27. noon-2 p.m. in the city park. The donations are continuing. Businesses are asked to come to the city park with a pop tent and table with candy. The event will include gifts from the police department, pumpkin painting, haunted house mazes, a bouncing house, hayrides and candy.

The finance committee will meet Oct. 29, 5:30 p.m.

DeFrank can be reached at