The East Ohio Regional Industrial Park, as it is currently known, is another step closer to completion. Larry Merry, co-director of the Belmont County Port Authority told Barnesville Village Council members Monday night that the first 200 acres of land for the park has been purchased from Oxford Mining.
The 200 acres is the first purchase of 825 acres on a long-term option with Oxford Mining, Merry said. Belmont County, the Village of Barnesville and Warren Township have been working toward the creation of an industrial park for several years in an effort to create jobs and jumpstart economic development for the county and surrounding area.
"It has been quite an adventure this summer," Merry said. "The county is now the owner of 200 acres of land in Warren Township."
Merry said equipment has been moved to the site and groundbreaking should begin within the next couple of weeks.
"This is good news. I think we will see a lot of action," Merry said. He credited the Belmont County Commissioners, Senator Jason Wilson and State Rep. Allen Sayre for their parts in making the industrial park a reality. He also acknowledged Oxford Mining's involvement, noting that they helped pay for the initial study in 2002.
"The park will take everyone in Belmont County working together to get done," Merry said. "I have said from day one that this is not a port authority project. It is not a Barnesville project. It is a community project."
"Council appreciates all the work you've done," Council President Dale Bunting said.
Merry said it has been suggested that the name of the industrial park be changed. He said a sign, showing where the industrial park is located, will be put up this week.
"This is good news and has been a long time coming," Mayor Tom Michelli concluded.
Mayor Michelli is warning residents not to be fooled by door-to-door representatives attempting to sign up participants in their gas program. Michelli said this company is not affiliated with the gas aggregation program the village is working toward. An issue will be placed on the November ballot regarding the village's participation with that gas aggregation program, affiliated with Volunteer Energy Services, Inc.
"If anyone comes to your door soliciting anything, the first thing you should ask them is if they have a solicitor's permit," Michelli said.
Council also gave their annual approval to the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival Committee for the use of five village parking lots and the blocking off of West Main Street from Chestnut to South Gardner and Broadway Street from West Church Street to West South Streets for good concessions, games and amusement rides. The 46th annual Barnesville Pumpkin Festival begins Thursday, Sept. 24 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 27.
In other business, council passed two ordinances and authorized the mayor to sign several contracts.
Village Solicitor Marlin Harper recommended the village sign a contract between the village and AirEvac, a company that provides life-flight services. The contract provides compensation to the Barnesville E-Squad for their transportation services of AirEvac crew to the hospital and airport.
Council passed an ordinance to increase bulk water rates by 25 cents per 1,000 gallons. The rate increase will begin with the November billing.
Council approved an ordinance amending and correcting the sewer service charge, which corrects a typographical error. The ordinance now states that "the sewer service charge for usage on and after Sept. 1, 2009, for usage over 40,000 gallons, shall be $242.70 plus $5.50 per thousand gallons used over 40,000."
Council also approved a contract between Kirkwood Township and the village for fire coverage. The Barnesville Fire Department will cover fire runs for an annual fee of $500 and an additional $50 per run. The contract is approved annually.
Council authorized the mayor to sign a consent for right of entry ingress and egress, which grants the Ohio Department of Natural Resources permission to access village property to close an abandoned mine near the park. The mine is located on private property, but the ODNR Department of Mines needs permission to cross village property to access the mine. Solicitor Harper, who amended the agreement, said the village will require written assurance that the Department of Mining will repair any damages that might occur while it is on village property before finalizing the agreement.
A community bulletin board will be constructed in downtown Barnesville, near the intersection of East Main and Arch streets next to The Barnesville Enterprise office. Bill Steedle, president of the Barnesville Area Chamber of Commerce, asked council's permission to construct the bulletin board, which he said would be funded and maintained by the chamber. Steedle is to submit a drawing of the proposed sign for the Historical Review Committee to review. Steedle said the sign will be similar in appearance to the Barnesville Area Rails to Trails sign near the Barnesville Depot.
Village Administrator Roger Deal informed council that the strain poles and traffic lights at the intersection of Main and Chestnut streets have been installed. Deal said he appreciated the patience of Chip Terrett, owner of Ryman and Terrett Pharmacy, which is located at that intersection and all other property owners who "put up with the lights hanging on their building."
A pre-bid meeting for the Waste Water Treatment Plant Sludge Improvement Project is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 17. Deal said 22 contractors have picked up plans and bid specifications for the project. "That is good for us," Deal told council. Bids open Oct. 2.
Michelli said Police Chief Dave Norris will be meeting with the Safety Committee and Barnesville Exempted Village School District Superintendent Randy Lucas to discuss a the hiring of a resource officer at Barnesville schools. (The meeting was held Monday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. in council chambers).
Deal informed council that a brick pillar at the south entrance of Crestview Cemetery was struck by a hit-and-run vehicle over the weekend of Sept. 12-13. The pillar has since been removed.
At the request of Fire Chief Bob Smith, council approved the removal of Jeff Lucas from the department.
The largest of three roof ornaments on top of the Municipal Building will be replaced by Fitzpatrick Roofing. Deal said original estimates to patch the roof where the ornament was would have been $3,900, so it was decided to replace the ornament for an estimated cost of $500. Deal said in addition to being less expensive, replacing the wooden ornament would maintain the look of the building.
A building permit for Helper Carpenter at 318 Hunts Ave. for a porch enclosure was approved.
The mayor attended a small government's meeting Wednesday and Deal and Fiscal Officer Amy Jackson attended a training on Thursday.
A Record Commission Meeting was scheduled for Sept. 28 at 6: 45 p.m., prior to the next council meeting. Mayor Michelli said Belco Works will come and shred and recycle old documents.