Mall Road project moves forward

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – A key step was taken in the planned Mall Road construction project during a Friday meeting of the Belmont County Transportation Improvement District. Board approved the intergovernmental agreement between the commissioners and the TID, transferring $1.9 million from the county commissioners to the TID.

The agreement was signed by two of the three commissioners, with Commissioner Ginny Favede not present during the portion of the commission meeting when the signing took place. TID Board Member and Commissioner Matt Coffland stated Favede had been made aware via e-mail that the item would be on the agenda during that meeting.

Coffland abstained from the Friday TID vote on the grounds of a potential conflict of interest.

Board Member Dennis Bigler noted the transfer will take place within 10 days. He hopes to see construction start this year.

Board approved the budget for the project.

Board also approved the acquisition of real property and retention of real estate consultants. Bigler said this covers close to eight tenths of an acre behind Lowes, starting on Route 40.

Landowner Robert Stewart said he is initially satisfied with the arrangement but waiting to see the official plans. He added that he is happy to see that the deceleration line has been shortened.

ODOT will be overseeing the acquisition process. The official appraisal must also be completed.

The board will contract a right of way consultant. The Charles G. Snyder Company will appraise the right of way for a cost of $8,000. OR Colan Associates will complete the review appraisal and negotiation process for $26,100. Board approved up to $27,900 in the second case.

In other matters, Vince Gianangeli gave a financial report from Jan. 2010-June 2014, with income of $236,367.06, $155,919.22 of expenditure such as accounting and engineering services, legal and office expenses, with net profit or loss of $80,447.84.

Board also adopted an employee fidelity bond for the secretary treasurer’s position. Bigler noted that a $50,000 bond cost $225.

A $50,000 criminal bond covering all of the board costs $1,215. Coffland will determine if the TID is already covered.

The board also drafted a letter of support for the Eastern Ohio Mine Safety Training Center for Eastern Ohio, proposed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The letter will be sent to the Cafaro Company. Coffland said the center will likely bring in thousands of students.

The board will also address the frequent accidents at Routes 470 and 7 and request a meeting with ODOT to discuss the same.

The next meeting will be held Aug. 18 at 3 p.m.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com