County, village officials talk development at chamber meeting

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Barnesville Area Chamber of Commerce members learned about developments in the village’s infrastructure, as well as expected prosperity from the continued development of the shale oil and gas industry. At the January meeting held at the Barnesville Senior Citizens Center on Wednesday, Jan. 9, Barnesville Mayor Ron Bischof and Belmont County Port Authority Director Larry Merry updated members on the village’s two JEDD projects.

Bischof said the extension of village sewer lines to the Joint Economic Development District II, east of town on State Route 147 was recently completed. Merry said the project, done in cooperation with the village, county and private developers, has already brought new oil and gas-related business to the area.

“Don’t be surprised if you see more buildings being put up out there and more business,” Merry said. He said although he represents government-funded development, the best type of development comes from private developers.

Merry said that the waterline extension project to the JEDD I (Eastern Ohio Regional Industrial Park) on North 800 will soon resume. The contractor, who had to take a break in the project due to weather, will soon be resuming work to extend the waterline up the road into the industrial park. Merry said Barnesville Village officials now have the option to continue to extend the water line to the I-70 interchange, providing village water to those residents, as well as paving the way for future development.

Bischof said the village recently completed an ambitious paving project and that he has received many compliments from residents about the raising of sewer grates on North Broadway Street that have made the road safer and smoother.

Merry said the Barnesville area was just beginning to reap the benefits of the gas and oil boom. Merry said townships to the east of Barnesville will also benefit from that boom.

Village coffers have profited from a lease with Antero Resources and officials are working on a long-term investment plan to best utilize that money, as well as future royalties. In addition, the village is selling water from the Slope Creek Reservoir to Gulfport, operating in Somerset Township.

The February Chamber of Commerce meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 13 at noon at the Barnesville Senior Citizen’s Center.

The Belmont County Business Showcase is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at the Barnesville Elementary School. Registration will begin on February 1.

The annual Community Spring Banquet will be held on Thursday, April 25 at 6 p.m. at the Barnesville Elks. Nominations for Employee of the Year, Community Service, Citizen of the Year and Lifetime Achievement are now being accepted. If you know someone deserving of special recognition, please send your letter to the Chamber office at 130 W. Main St., Barnesville 43713 by April 5.

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