Cumberland Trail Fire District secures major federal funding

Main Station to be remodeled

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Cumberland Trail Fire District received $1.575 million in federal funding to use in renovating its Main Station on Marietta Street.

The funding was secured by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and the office of former Congressman Bill Johnson, R-Ohio. The money comes in the form of a Congressionally Directed Spending Grant as part of the FIscal 2024 Omnibus Bill.

“Congratulations as you celebrate this investment to improve the Cumberland Trail Fire Station. I was proud to work with the community and former representative Johnson to secure the funding that made this project possible,” Brown wrote in a letter to the district. “The best ideas come from Ohio. Each year, our office works with Ohioans to secure resources through congressionally directed spending to support projects like this one and ensure Ohioans’ voices are heard.

“Firefighters put their lives on the line for all of us, and we owe them the support that they need.”

The fire station, originally built in 1978, is set to be expanded and remodeled. Officials said the project is needed for the district to have the resources to continue to ensure the safety of the residents in St. Clairsville and the surrounding area.

Mayor Kathryn Thalman said the project has been a priority for her almost since she first took office.

“This is one of the absolute highlights of my being mayor,” she said during a celebration of the funding award at the station on Thursday.

Thalman said that early in her tenure as mayor, she spoke with Fire Chief Tim Hall about the fact that the Cumberland Trail Fire District did not own the building that served as its Main Station. She said the district desperately needed to grow but was not able to secure grant funding because you cannot receive a grant for a building you do not own.

“We worked with Chief Hall and my administration and we were able to get this building to the fire department and now we’re today where they are announcing some major improvements,” Thalman said of the city transferring ownership of the property to the district.

Belmont County Commissioner J.P. Dutton also spoke to those gathered for the celebration.

He said he believes the Cumberland Trail Fire District is very forward-thinking, citing the recently formed Belmont County CARES program’s success as an example of the tremendous strides and impact it has had on the community.

“It has filled in gaps that were needed,” Dutton said.

He added that the community appreciates the leadership role the fire district plays in the greater St. Clairsville community.

Chief Tim Hall thanked everyone in attendance for making time to come to the celebration of the award.

“In February 2022 we formed an internal building team … to examine the needs of today’s fire service and traveled to other fire departments across the state to get ideas to see what’s applicable for the city of St. Clairsville and Richland Township,” Hall said.

Hall later explained that the $1.575 million is a matching grant that will cover 35% of the renovation project. The fire district must pay the remaining 65%, or $2,925,000, of the total $4.5 million cost.

Hall stressed that the voters within the district made it possible for the project to move forward by approving a replacement levy for an additional 1 mill last May to generate the necessary revenue.

“I just really appreciate the overwhelming support of our residents,” he added.


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