Jefferson County Commissioners Discuss Bridge Issues | News, Sports, Jobs

DISCUSSION – Jefferson County Commissioners Tom Graham, left, and Dave Maple discuss a badly deteriorated Permars Run Bridge with Emergency Management Agency Director John Parker and Deputy Chief Engineer of the Jefferson County, Clay Merrin. –Linda Harris

STEUBENVILLE – A ramshackle bridge spanning Permars Run needs to be taken down, but before they do anything, Jefferson County commissioners say they need to know who owns it.

At Thursday’s meeting, Emergency Management Agency Director John Parker and Jefferson County and Jefferson County Deputy Chief Engineer Clay Merrin told commissioners that the bridge “presents a risk of damaging critical infrastructure.”

“It causes real concern with the infrastructure that is already in place along Permars Run if it continues to deteriorate,” said Parker. “It’s definitely not going to get better, it’s only going to get worse.”

Parker pointed Permars Run “is in no way a natural watercourse.”

“These are retaining walls for more than 90% of the length on both sides”, he said. “It’s a very high-flowing waterway, so any debris, any blockage – especially something as large as this bridge, causes erosion and can cause significant damage to the existing retaining walls. If they fail , it may damage the road.

Commissioner Dave Maple said that before making any decisions, they need to know who owns the bridge and whether removing it would result in an owner on the other side being landlocked. If there is a private owner, “Shouldn’t that be their responsibility?”

Parker said they have already been in contact with the prosecutor and efforts are underway to determine who it belongs to, but at this stage no one can say for sure who it is.

“There is some discrepancy over who actually owns the bridge,” said Parker. “This property sat vacant for a little while and then someone recently bought it. ‘recorder.

“We’re going to be stuck with the problem”, he added. “The real concern is whether we spend a little money up front to avoid losing something important in terms of funding, retaining walls or roads. It’s unfortunate, but that’s today’s society.

The Commissioners did not dispute the need to demolish the span.

“Looks like a sledgehammer could do the job”, said Maple. “But if we take down the bridge and lock up someone’s property, we will be forced to build a bridge for them.”

The couple were given permission to request quotes after telling stewards the owners appeared to be using other means to cross the Channel.

“We need to get estimates, see what it’s going to cost, but I think it’s something that should be done,” said commissioner Tom Graham. “We need to find out first, get the prosecutor involved and let us know in writing what he finds out. If it’s still about not knowing who owns it and it’s not going to anyone’s residence, I think we can still go on – but we need to talk to the prosecutor (before we do anything ).

Maple said getting direction from the prosecutor was crucial.

“He has already been informed, so he started the paperwork”, said Parker.

The commissioners also signed a variation order for $9,290 for the renovation of the hearing room.

Architect Victor Greco of McKinley and Associates said he encountered problems raising the existing steam piping above the current ceiling level.

The ceiling had been lowered years ago to conceal the pipes, blocking the upper part of the historic building’s windows. Current plans call for the restoration of the original ceiling level, revealing the window in its entirety.

Graham said the change will be “preserving the historic setting of the courthouse.

“Whenever you’re in a construction project, it’s rare not to see change orders,” Graham added. “You have to anticipate them from time to time. This is the one that needs to be done.

Maple said the renovations will expose the arched portion of the old windows as well as two windows that had been completely covered for years.

“Part of the upgrades…is raising the ceiling so you can see the old windows,” said Maple. “All of these windows on the outside have an arch – we wanted to appreciate the structure. To do that, part of the plumbing and piping from the heating system is in there and they have to plumb part of it back to bring it up. (upper).

Greco told the curators during the design and planning phase, “The mechanical drawings included the elevation of the condensate lines and new condensate piping connections to the existing steam traps in the courtroom.”

“After the demolition of the ceiling, an additional condensate trap outside the courtyard (was discovered) which limits the height to which the condensate piping can be raised”, he wrote. Due to the slope required to properly drain the additional traps, he said they are limited in how high they can raise the ceiling.

“It was also discovered that the aged piping system has a low tolerance for condensate in the system and that the existing traps must remain to remove condensate from the system,” Greco said, adding that now that the ceiling and walls have been opened, “It’s the only bump we see.”

The commissioners also approved Sheriff Fred Abdalla Jr.’s request for funds to cover retroactive pay increases for his employees.

Retroactive salaries for the department’s three bargaining units total just under $100,000 and would cover May 10, 2021 through early 2022.

Graham pointed out that it took longer than usual for the county to negotiate and put the contracts in place. “When we approve contracts, we generally make them retroactive,” he added. “It’s very typical.”

Maple pointed out that it was a scheduling issue.

On Thursday, the commissioners made a change with their advisory committee on diversity, equity and inclusion, naming longtime civil rights lawyer Delores Wiggins member emeritus, citing her experience in handling diversity issues in Jefferson County. The change means she would no longer be required for the board to have a quorum, allowing her to attend when it suits her needs.

“They can draw on his wisdom if the council wishes,” said Graham.

“Delores’ participation in any capacity will be invaluable”, Maple added.

The committee focuses on “what the county is doing in terms of hiring, the percentage makeup of various diverse groups in Jefferson County, making sure all groups are accounted for”, Graham said, adding the county “do it anyway” as obvious.

“A lot of times you hear people say, ‘We didn’t know.’ I think Commissioner Maple has done a good job of making sure they know that, the committee helped with that,” he said, pointing out that the committee helps level the playing field.

“I am always in favor of hiring the most qualified people,” he said. “The key is to make sure everyone has equal representation to apply, and then you hire the most qualified people for the job.”

Lynn Kanoski, representing the Friendship Park Harvest Festival Committee, briefed the commissioners on plans for the three-day celebration, which begins at 4pm today and runs through Sunday.

“We have a beautiful park, people don’t know it’s there” she says. “We try to promote this park, create friendships and pride in the community.”

Kanoski said they have scheduled shows every three nights and will hold a range of activities including a Chinese auction today; a fishing tournament, parade and pumpkin decorating on Saturday; and a car cruise, cornhole tournament, and dance Sunday.

Food and craft vendors will also be on site, and there will be a children’s corner offering crafts and other activities.

“We just ask for your support to (reinforce) the awareness that we are there”, she says. “The park itself needs to be promoted more.”

“We agree with you it’s a beautiful place,” said Maple, describing him as a “an important asset that is underutilized.”

“It’s a wonderful place,” Graham agreed. “Unfortunately, it’s not as well known as we would like.”

In other cases, Commissioners:

– Issued a notice to upgrade the UV disinfection of the Barber’s Hollow Wastewater Treatment Plant to Border Patrol LLC of Hopedale. The notice starts the countdown to the 345-day period for substantial completion in September 2023.

– Executing the contract for the County Road 49 Bridge Replacement Project. AP O’Horo Co. of Youngstown was awarded the $1,424,000 project.

– Agreed to spend up to $8,000 on holiday lighting, enhancing the Nutcracker Village celebration.

Maple said the festival is a tourist attraction.

Graham said there is “the meetings continue” between the historic Fort Steuben and the Nelson family, creators of Nutcracker Village, to solve the problems exposed during the celebration of 2021.

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