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County Veterans Commission to get new headquarters

Former court offices will be used in Bellaire

BELLAIRE — The Belmont County Veterans Commission will soon have a new headquarters at the building now housing Belmont County Northern and Eastern Division courts in Bellaire.

The county commissioners announced the move Wednesday, adding the building will be vacated early next year as the courts and prosecutor’s office move into a renovated building in St. Clairsville.

“We think it’s going to be a very good place for the commission,” Belmont County Commissioner J.P. Dutton said. “The space they’re in in downtown Bellaire has some limits to say the least.”

Veterans Commission President Mick Zingo said the move would be a welcome one for staff and the public, since the location will have greater space and better parking. The court building is about 12 years old and will require very little renovation.

“It’s been a long time coming, and we appreciate it,” Zingo said. “It’s really going to help us out.”

He added the parking will be valuable when they transport veterans for hospital visits.

“We’re going to do everything we can to expand our services to increase our outreach program,” Executive Director and Service Officer Cindy Maupin said.

The limitations of the current location had curtailed plans of expansion, but Maupin said more outdoor events and activities will be possible at the new site.

“I was hoping to erect a pavilion and hopefully have a grand opening,” Maupin said. “I would love to do it around Memorial Day.”

Maupin added that all Belmont County veterans are welcome to the office.

“Especially if you are needing help, because we offer financial assistance, and we also offer claims assistance,” Maupin said.

The services are free.

Maupin added winter heating assistance will be provided beginning Nov. 1 for all eligible for HEAP assistance.

Dutton said the county will decide what to do with the veterans commission’s current building.

Maupin said the office handled 35 new claims last month, and 700 incoming phone calls asking about services.

“We appreciate the services you provide down there,” Commissioner Josh Meyer said. “I appreciate your patience.”

“We did discuss selling this building,” Commissioner Jerry Echemann said, noting the strain of the coronavirus pandemic. “I think this board has done a good job fiscally of keeping the county on track and managing our money well, so we weren’t desperate to have money from the sale of a property. … I think it’s a better option to help out the veterans.”

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