I SAW signs of progress in Bellaire Thursday. It was delivered at the Business After Hours program at the Bellaire High School cafeteria.
The well-attended event was sponsored by the Great Stone Viaduct Historical Education Society. Inclement weather forced the program indoors. It was originally scheduled to be staged near the viaduct.
The Great Stone Viaduct group has undertaken a monumental task and is doing so with unbridled passion. It is attempting to acquire the abandoned portion of the viaduct which extends from Guernsey Street to Rose Hill from CSX Corp. That would include 20 of the viaduct's archways.
An acquisition of this magnitude doesn't come cheaply. Far from it. The GSV Society has corresponded with CSX about a possible deal. The local group is undertaking an appraisal in order be able to offer a fair price to both entities.
GSV Society Board Chairman Dan Frizzi Jr. hosted the meeting. He said his group's slogan is "Standing Shoulder to Shoulder." It was spawned by the architectural design of the archway as no stone alone can support the arch without standing "shoulder to shoulder" with the one next to it.
The slogan is aptly named and is beginning to pay dividends.
Frizzi announced the GSV Society six Keystone Club members. That designation is earned by contributing $2,500. The six were Auto Choice of Bellaire; Belmont Community Hospital/ Wheeling Hospital; Belmont County Tourism Council; Belmont Savings Bank; Buffalo Wild Wings and Muxie Distributing Co.
Such donations are a reflection of the hard work being exhibited by the GSV Society and the generosity displayed by those donors.
Frizzi delivered more good financial news. The local attorney announced the names of nearly three dozen Ringstone Club members, those who donate at least $500.
They include: Angelina Stone & Marble; BP/Subway of Bellaire; Bauknecht Altmeyer; Bellaire Harbor Service; Chase Bank; Zach Chrisagis, D.D.S., A.E. and Marilyn Dean; Denny's Blue Angel; Jeff & Rose Durant in honor of parents: James & Dolly Derry, Nick & Opal Durant; Emma's Attic/Primitive Gatherings; Tony Francis in memory of Barbara Francis; Daniel and Penny Frizzi; Frizzi Law Offices; Frizzi Market; Gulla's Lunch; Hughes Xerographics; ICR Contracting/Bellaire Hardware; J&L Auto Body; LaRoche Tree Service; McDonald's of Bellaire; MC Thomas Insurance; MOS Office Systems; Dr. David Melgary, O.D.; Paul/Jay Associates; Progressive Bank; Rigas Restaurant; Siebieda Architects; Softite Federal Credit Union; State Farm Insurance, Kevin Davis; Tri-Son's Concrete; Stephon Green in memory of Spotwood & Ida Green; United Bank of Bellaire; United Masonry.
That is a lengthy and impressive list of supporters buying into the viaduct project.
The GSV Society's fund-raising crusade has garnered more than $31,000 to date. That is enough to cover the costs of one arch with $10,000 toward a second arch.
"These funds are segregated to the purpose of acquisition, protection and preservation, or as matching funds for grants for that purpose," Frizzi said. "No portion shall be spent for any other reason. If at the end of 48 months we have failed to achieve these purposes, you may request a return of your donation."
I commend that money-back guarantee. That is a grand gesture, one I hope that does not become an option.
This project is one that the entire All-American Town, if not the Ohio Valley, can hang its hat on. It spawns excitement, pride and teamwork. Bellaire needs something like this -- a total community endeavor.
Frizzi noted three reasons why the GSV Society is taking on this challenge.
1. The 43 separate arches of the Great Stone Viaduct were designated a National Historic Structure in 1976, a monument to our transportation history;
2. The Ohio Historical Society marked this Viaduct in 2008 as a place of historical significance;
3. A truly national and state treasure, in addition to being a landmark of this community, it deserves our attention and our joint preservation ethic and effort.
The GSV Society's board of trustees, which Frizzi chairs, includes: Larry Siebieda, vice chair; Jim Cochran, CPA, treasurer; Lillian Siebieda, secretary; Joanne Sullivan, Nancy Merryman, Erica Keller, Stanley Stewart, Jack McKeever, William Kasko, Jim Williams and Paul Cramer.
The society has a major fundraiser planned Sept. 28-29, that being the 2013 Celebration & Steam Whistle Exposition. We will have much more on that novel event in the coming days.
BEL-O-MAR REGIONAL Council's Board has appointed Scott Hicks as executive director. He replaces Bill Phipps who recently retired.
Hicks has been a full-time employee at Bel-O-Mar since 1985. Hicks was previously serving as Bel-O-Mar's deputy director as well as the director of Management Services.
Hicks is a 1985 graduate of West Liberty State College where he received a B.S. in Business Administration with a specialization in Management.
Hicks resides in Glen Dale with his wife, Mary and has two children, Sam and Shelby.
THE THIRD annual Martins Ferry FOP cookout will be held Saturday, Oct. 12 at Redman Park from 5-10 p.m. The dinner will featured a pulled-pork dinner, including salad, rolls, baked beans, green beans and dessert. A keg of beer and soda will be available.
A Chinese auction, raffle tickets, music and more will be offered. Those attending should bring their own table setting and drinks.
Tickets are $20 per person or $25 per couple. Contact any Martins Ferry police officer for tickets or additional information.
JOHN MAGISTRO guided Westerville Central to a 54-32 win over Independence Friday night. The Warhawks are now 2-1 and will visit Dublin Scioto this week.
TERRELLE PRYOR distinguished himself fairly well in a starting role for the Oakland Raiders in a losing effort. The former Ohio State quarterback completed 19-of-29 passes for 217 yards. More impressively, he rushed for 112 yards on 13 tries. He was picked off twice in a 21-17 reversal at Indy.
THE OHIO Valley needs more football games like Bellaire and Shadyside. It was the largest crowd I have ever witnessed at Nelson Field. The game generated a week of excitement and hype we seldom see. The neighboring communities came alive with a myriad of activities such as wing-eating contests, pep rallies and stories from the 1950 contest (the last one played prior to Saturday).
IT WAS good to see the International Olympic Committee wise up and reinstate wrestling into the summer games.
I WAS concerned that I may have been too harsh in last week's column on the punishment I was calling for against convicted dog killers. But so far, everyone has agreed with that mode of punishment.
THE NEXT Bellaire Chamber of Commerce luncheon/meeting will be Thursday at noon in the Community Room of the Bellaire Public Library. Cost of the luncheon is $7. There is no charge to attend the meeting. The guest speaker will be a representative from L.E.E.K. Hunting Preserve--Wounded Warrior Hunt Camp. All local businesses and their employees are welcome to attend. Reservation are due by Tuesday and may be made by calling the chamber office 740-676-9723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kapral may be reached at email@example.com