Demolition, construction activity set for Belmont County in ‘23

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Unused buildings will soon come down in Belmont County, with new construction also on the horizon.

On Wednesday, the Belmont County Board of Commissioners accepted bids to demolish the Belmont County Habilitation Center. Kane Specialty Group submitted a bid of $237,397; Larry Lang Excavating bid $262,971.60; Reclaim Co. bid $406,350; and BTR Environmental bid $518,215.96. All specified work would be complete in 45 work days except for BTR, which set 35 work days.

“We’re definitely focused on facilities again. We’re playing catchup,” Commissioner J.P. Dutton said. “The county got kind of behind when it came to dealing with the facilities, and we’ve been trying to be really active facility-wise, and this is one of those things.

“This is one of those three. Fortunately, we were able to get funding from the state of Ohio through the governor’s office,” Dutton said. “The Brownfields program is going on right now, so the next step in the process is accepting bids for the demolition. We’ve already dealt with the asbestos remediation.”

The county received an Ohio Department of Development Brownfield Remediation Program grant of $897,460.

The hab center is located on Hammond Road between the Department of Job & Family Services and Belco Works.

“The next step is demolition. … It will be done this calendar year, and then we have plans to move forward and look at the other buildings,” Dutton added. “They’re not eligible for grant funding unfortunately, but we have been planning for the past few years from a budget standpoint to get to a point where we can demolish those buildings as well.”

These include a building on Oak View Road that currently houses the county records and a vacant building that had served as the County Home. The cost of demolition has not yet been determined.

“There are hundreds and thousands of dollars for each of them,” he said.

Dutton said once the records are moved to a new facility, the county can demolish the Oak View building. Dutton added that plans for a new records building have been in the works for some time, along with a new health department.

“We’ll finalize that in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “There’s not current county space that can serve long-term in that capacity (for records storage).”

He said the commissioners expect to announce plans and prospective sites for a new records building and a new health department location in the coming weeks.

“It is a project that’s going to be a little bit costly, but we have been budgeting for that as well as using a portion of our (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) dollars,” he said.

In other matters, the commissioners also took note of Ohio Township Day, observed on the first day of February to recognize the township form of government and the local officials who step up and keep their areas running.

“It would be very difficult for us to function as a county government without townships, because they do so much and take care of so many things,” Commissioner Jerry Echemann said.

“It doesn’t make headlines, but if we had to jump in and deal with all the things that the townships deal with, I don’t think we could manage that. And I think, by and large, our townships in Belmont County do a great job. They don’t always have a lot of money in the coffers, so they’re always trying to do things on a shoestring budget, and I think they do a great job. It’s a tough job to keep things going in the township with the roads,” he said. “I can’t say enough. … They’re necessary entities to take pressure off us and cities.”

Dutton added that the townships have been an integral part of the county’s planning and economic initiatives.

“We try to incorporate the townships as much as we can,” he said.


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