Monroe County Commissioners receive security updates

Courthouse safety topic of discussion for commissioners

T-L Photo/MIRANDA SEBROSKI Mary Jo Westfall, Ohio State University extension associate, explains the community development block program to the public during Monday’s commission meeting in Monroe County.

WOODSFIELD — Courthouse security remained high on the agenda of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners on Monday.

In January, the courthouse received a walk-through scanner and metal-detecting scanner, but there have been delays regarding placement of the equipment and which entrance should serve as the main point of access to the courthouse. An architect has been contacted to provide a recommendation about where the new security equipment should be placed, and commissioners said they cannot go any further on the matter until they receive a report from the architect.

Commissioner Mick Schumacher commented that he believes the Court Street entrance would be ideal as the main entry point, and Commissioner Carl Davis said he believes Sheriff Charles Black would want it that way as well. Concerns about people who need a handicap accessible entrance were raised, too. John Groom, a consultant for the courthouse project, attended the meeting to give advice.

“What a lot of courthouses do is they will utilize an existing main entrance and have a separate ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) entrance that can be utilized for people with wheelchairs,” Groom said. “What happens with the ones I have seen work well is that they will have some type of buzzer or doorbell, and a deputy will bring that person to the screening area.”

Commissioners and Groom decided to establish a formal security committee that can work toward everyone getting on the same page.

“The courts that have good security and effective security have a committee,” Groom said. “Everyone should be involved. Maybe someone from every office can be on it and the judges should decide who is on the committee.”

Meanwhile, Community Development Block Grant opportunities were also discussed.

Mary Jo Westfall, Ohio State University extension associate, spoke to the public about Community Development Block Grants. The CDBG program provides annual grants to counties and municipalities, expanding opportunities aimed at revitalizing neighborhoods and improving community facilities. Monroe County has received money from the program since 1982, with the exception of last year — a change that resulted from guideline changes. This year, the county is receiving $150,000 to do four projects chosen by the county commissioners.

To be eligible for the funding, a proposed project would have to benefit people with low to moderate incomes. Many people present Monday were curious about what types of projects could be done. Westfall said road slip repairs, guardrail upgrades, traffic signs, small bridge replacements, and paving projects could be done, as long as they fall within the budget of the grant.

County Engineer Amy Zwick will be helping to work on road improvement projects through the program. Community center improvements, equipment for emergency service personnel and playground equipment are also things a community development block grant can cover.

“My advice as far as estimates, don’t wait until the last minute. That is what takes the longest and you should start right now,” Westfall told potential project planners. “Construction season has already started, and they are giving up their time to come look at your project. You want to give them all the courtesy you can by contacting them early.”

The allocation application is due at 4 p.m. March 16, and applicants can deliver them by mail, email or by stopping at the extension office. Interested applicants can reach Westfall Monday through Friday at 740-472-0810 or by email at