Belmont County Commissioners talk county buildings

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Repairs to the juvenile detention center and infrastructure matters topped the agenda of the Belmont County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday.

Commissioners Josh Meyer, J.P. Dutton and Jerry Echemann approved $279,000 bid from Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal to replace the roof on the Sargus Juvenile Detention Center. The commissioners noted that all the bids came in under the engineer’s estimate of $300,000.

“They were very close to each other. There was less than $1,000 difference between the two,” Meyer said. “We’re happy to move forward with the low bidder and looking forward to that project beginning soon.”

The commissioners did not disclose details of the second bid.

While he said a timetable has not been set, the board hopes to see the work start soon. He added that state grant funds will cover about $110,000, or close to 40 percent, of the cost.

“We’ve got a partnership with the state to get this project done,” Meyer said. “It’s important because the roof’s in pretty bad shape.”

“I just want to extend a thank-you to the commissioners for putting that project into the next stage,” Sargus Director D.J. Watson said afterward. “I think it’s always a good thing to bring grant dollars home from Columbus. We’re always looking for ways to lessen the burden on our resources. Our roof at the detention center has been in need of replacement for a number of years now.”

Watson estimated that the roof is in excess of 12 years old. He added that that work has been planned out to not interfere with operations. The center is housing about 20 juveniles, although Watson said that number often changes.

Afterward, Meyer also gave an update on the Belmont County Board of Elections, which has moved to its new location and is operating out of offices in a building formerly owned by The Health Plan east of St. Clairsville. The move began last week from the board’s prior headquarters at Plaza West, St. Clairsville.

“The bulk of the move took place. I know they still have a little bit of stuff to move, but I think everything they need there to run daily operations is in place,” Meyer said. He commended elections Director Kelly McCabe and her staff. “We’re glad they were able to get out into the new building. They’re happy with it.”

In 2017 the county purchased two buildings vacated by The Health Plan when it moved to a new headquarters in downtown Wheeling. The Belmont County Clerk of Courts and Title Office will share the lower building with the board of elections and is expected to make the move in July. The upper building will hold the Western, Northern and Eastern Division county courts and the prosecutor’s office.

In other matters, guests included Frank Papini of St. Clairsville, who is also exalted ruler of the Ohio Valley River Elks Lodge in Martins Ferry. He reminded the commissioners and residents that the lodge will hold its annual Community Day in the Park this Saturday at the Martins Ferry Recreation Center and the surrounding City Park.

“It’s open to the public. It’s from noon to 4 p.m. Everything’s free. We’re going to have food, we’re going to have rides, free swimming, face painting, pony rides, anything you can think of. The police are going to be there doing fingerprinting for the children,” he said, adding that attendance numbers in the hundreds throughout the day. “It’s open to anyone who wants to come. We expect to see a big crowd. We’ve had big crowds before.”

He added that The Brothers in Song, of which he is a member, will begin a concert at 3:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be a fun day,” Papini said.

He said they will also hold a Flag Day ceremony at 4 p.m.

Papini also commended the Belmont County Department of Senior Services for the services it provides.

“They do a heck of a job,” he said. “The deliveries of food, the transportation. … That is a really wonderful organization.”

In other matters, the commissioners will also hold a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. today at the Martins Ferry Public Library.