Belmont County officials remember 9/11

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Belmont County Commissioner Josh Meyer and guests, including Frank Papini of St. Clairsville, speak briefly Wednesday about the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County Commissioner Josh Meyer opened Wednesday’s meeting with a moment of silence in recognition of the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

“It’s hard to talk about. It was such an impactful day,” Meyer said afterward, noting memories of the attack are still fresh in his mind. “It was a moment in time that you just never forget. … I’ve had the privilege of going to each of the sites where one of the planes went down.”

He mentioned the spirit of unity that characterized the days immediately following Sept. 11, 2001.

“I hope we can get back to a place where we are united again, because we’re so divided in this country. It’s very sad,” he added.

Meanwhile, the commissioners contracted with George J. Igel & Co. Inc. of Columbus for a slip repair project on Belmont County Road 42, Fulton Hill Road, based on a recommendation from Engineer Terry Lively. The project cost of $297,842.65 is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“That’s just the continued ongoing work with the slide repairs that happened throughout the county and as a result of the FEMA money that is rolling in, slowly but surely, and allowing them to continue repairs on the slides that occurred back in 2018,” Meyer said.

Igel provided the lowest of four bids. Other bids included Shelly & Sands Inc. of Rayland at $304,444.40; Ohio-West Virginia Excavating Co. of Shadyside at $319,297.28; and the highest bid of $337,253 submitted by Alan Stone. Co. Inc. of Cutler, Ohio.

Belmont County Fair Board member David Jones reported on the 170th Belmont County Fair and thanked the commissioners for their continuing support of the fair, held last week through Sunday.

“We was blessed by having great, great weather, which is very, very important for the fair,” Jones said. He contrasted the 2019 fair with last year’s event, which was cut short by heavy rainfall. “We spent $90,000 prior to the fair for entertainment and different things. We’re estimating close to 20,000 people this year. We had about 17,000 maybe through the gate that paid, then we had passes. … It’s hard to know how many people use the pass.”

Jones said the fair had several new attractions this year that proved popular and may be expanded on.

“We’ve got lots of things we want to upgrade and do in the coming year,” Jones said. He mentioned a need to replace older lighting, blacktopping and obtaining a new office building.

Jones said the fair often manages to break even. He said the fair relies on area sponsorships.

“It’s amazing the people that live in our area that have never been to the fair,” Jones said. “We have 155 acres out there.”

Guests included Frank Papini of St. Clairsville, who asked about the future of health care with the planned closure of the East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry and the closure last week of Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling. Meyer said the commissioners continue to work with state officials but are still awaiting news.

“I can’t speak to the importance of both of those facilities and what kind of a gap in health care we’re going to have with those facilities being absent here. Just speaking to emergency department visits, currently East Ohio’s last numbers were approximately 14,000 emergency department visits, and Ohio Valley Medical Center had about 24,000 to 25,000,” Meyer said. “Wheeling hospital is inundated as they are. … We’re working hard to get somebody involved. We think it’s a great opportunity for someone to get in and keep the doors open.”