Local preservation is pushed in Bellaire

BELLAIRE – Dan Frizzi from the Great Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society and his board members are doing their best to get their plans involving the preservation of and education about the iconic structure off the ground.

Thursday, Frizzi spoke at the regular meeting of Bellaire Village Council and had accompanying him two representatives from the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.

Nathan Bevil from the OHPO spoke with village officials about one avenue the village can pursue that will assist in funding for the plans involving the viaduct, as well as other preservation pursuits within the village.

Bevil spoke of the Certified Local Government program which is a voluntary partnership between local, state and federal government entities, specifically the National Park Service on the federal level.

“A local preservation ordinance can be created that will place protections on a designated area or district. A preservation board is also created that operates similar to a zoning board,” Bevil said. “Using local input and local peaple, you can designate properties or a district as historic and any changes made to properties within that designation must be approved by the board.”

What is also does is provide an avenue to seek funding.

A benefit to passing this ordinance is the village is eligible for CLG grants, which are 60-40 matching grants that can help carry out the duties of the board. Properties can be surveyed, national register nominations can be made … a whole list of options become available.

Locally, both Steubenville and Mt. Pleasant are CLG communities.

Bevil noted there is potential for using the grant funding to assist the Great Stone Viaduct society itself by being able to sign over and allow a third party, like the society, to apply for funding through this particular vehicle.

“If the viaduct board wanted to do a planning grant to see what all is needed to rehabilitate the viadcut, they can come to council and ask for a resolution affording them permission to apply,” Bevil said.

In that event, the third-party, in this case the society, would be responsible for the matching portion of the grant and not the village.

Bevil informed council he’d personally assist in helping to draft the ordinance, getting the board up and running and will answer any questions council might have.

Recently, Bevil, Frizzi and Councilman Jim Williams met to discuss how the CLG program could assist the village and the viaduct society in moving forward with the society’s plans.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com