More housing on the way at Belmont shelter

• Belmont Career Center assisting with dog houses

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The dogs at the Belmont County Animal Shelter will be getting upgraded accommodations, thanks to the efforts of some local students.

County commissioners last week approved an estimate from Ed Reese, instructor at the Belmont Career Center, for $2,995 to furnish material and labor to build 25 dog houses for the shelter. Commissioner Mark Thomas said officials appreciate the work and generosity of the students.

“Back in 2014, the students built us 25 really nice dog houses that are in operation at the animal shelter,” he said. “We noticed that some of the other dog houses that had been there a while need to be replaced, and/or we need larger ones, so we approached Mr. Reese, their instructor, and he was gracious enough to make this a fall project for his classes. We’re simply providing the material to do that. They will have those built and we will install them.”

Thomas said some of the smaller, older dog houses will be replaced, and some new ones will be added.

Also during the meeting, Richard Hord of Martins Ferry inquired about the future of the building that formerly housed Belmont County Senior Services.

“It’s an old, dilapidated building. It will probably have to be torn down at some point, but for now, that’s where we’re keeping records,” Commissioner Josh Meyer said. “It’s the best facility we have at this current time. We’re looking for other options.”

Meyer commented on the requirements of maintaining the building.

“It’s an old building. It’s not the most efficient building in the county, so at some point we’re going to move the records department out there and move it to a better facility.”

Thomas added any decision regarding the state of the building would be a year or two in the future. If the board decides either to build another structure to house records or to demolish the current one, the commissioners would have to wait until the county’s share of revenue from Ohio’s casinos builds up sufficiently.

“We could do that with casino funds and not taxpayer funds,” Thomas said. “There’s so much demand for space for these county records. … We’re required to keep these records per the Ohio Revised Code, and we have to make more space available, so we’re probably going to have to continue to fix up that old senior services spot so we can allow these other records to be stored there.”

“The building’s far from ideal,” Commissioner J.P. Dutton added.

Plans for the demolition of the old Belmont County Home off Ohio 331 and the former rehabilitation building next to the Department of Job and Family Services headquarters are also underway. Demolition work could begin in December or early January.

Commissioners also said they were pleased voters on Tuesday approved levies in support of the St. Clairsville District Library and Belmont County Senior Services.

Commissioners will hold their next regular meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, instead of Wednesday, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.