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December 16, 2010 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
I was glad to see that Belmont County commissioners -- with a generous boost from the Tourism Council -- have decided to finally renovate the old sheriff's residence on Main Street in St. Clairsville. It is a move which should have been executed much sooner than this Wednesday. The structure has been an eyesore to an otherwise beautiful downtown setting for more than a decade. The commissioners took the action despite some vocal opposition. I understand that the work is a costly venture, but is one that will pay scenic dividends down the road. The former sheriff's residence, located near the courthouse, is a piece of St. Clairsville's rich history. Razing it would erase some of that tradition. With that said, I have no issue with funds being funneled into a massive facelift. Making that decision even more palatable is The Belmont County Tourism Council's offer to provide $150,000 over a three-year period for the match. Moreover, commissioners noted that no county general fund money will be used. The Clarendon Hotel, another St. C. landmark, has been the subject of much effort and money to bring it back to life. It is still a work in progress. I like the direction commissioners have taken on a controversial topic. Many times the correct decision is not a popular one.
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