Kondik sees opportunity in city

WEIRTON Mayor George J. Kondik delivered an optimistic view for the future of Weirton during his State of the City address to a full room at the Millsop Community Center Wednesday.

Kondik offered the audience gathered in the center’s Weirton Room an overview of what city officials will be working to develop this year.

“This weekend I’ll be in Charleston for the Municipal League, and the City of Weirton is part of the HUB Community Achievement program, which is investing in our community for projects at various locations. I will be soliciting them for a $13,000 grant to be given to the local Redevelopment Authority to put toward the Jimmy Carey Stadium. That’s one project that we will be doing, and it will be done this year,” Kondik said before continuing with an emphasis on collaboration.

“Our city is very positive with the BDC, the Chamber of Commerce, the BHJ, and we have a lot of really good things around the corner, believe it or not.”

Growth in the natural gas industry is beginning to be felt in the Weirton area, and enhancements into the city’s infrastructure and utilities continue.

“We’re looking at APEX Oil with their $6 million renovation. The $6 million sewer project is being financed by a local bank, which is huge to us,” Kondik said.

Business growth also continues to take place, he said, with a focus on the Three Springs Drive area, including a previously announced manufacturing firm.

“Pietro Fiorentini, before they went to Italy last time, they called us to meet with us to talk about the status of their road,” according to Kondik. “We’re going to use federal tax increment money to build an almost $1 million infrastructure road for a $7.1 million facility which is going to create 50 jobs to start at $30,000 a year and about 110 more jobs to follow within the year after that.”

Other developments in the area also are coming, with new businesses and improvements being discussed.

“We’ve got the Three Springs Park business development and the property that’s across from Wal-Mart. We have developers there that want to add another hotel and another retail outlet, and we’re going to use over $900,000 of TIF money there for infrastructure for office space and retail outlets. We’ve talked to the four land owners from Colliers Way to Three Springs Drive to let us do a feasibility study for an access road. That would be tremendous for us.”

The next topic he covered was the city’s municipal home rule plan and application, which should be up for public review by March 7. If the city can obtain permission from the state Legislature, the home rule application could allow Weirton to pass laws or ordinances that are not specifically permitted within existing state legislation. The four issues addressed on the application are probationary employment of zoning code officials, zoning code officials’ enforcement provisions, the ability for police officers to enter Alcohol Beverage Control Commission establishments without a special agent present and municipal authority to place restrictions on streets and highways within city limits.

Kondik also implored the audience to look into House Bill 4333, which would reduce limited video lottery income distribution by 15 percent.

“It is probably about $160,000 that we will be losing if they have their 15 percent reduction. That is not acceptable to us,” he said before thanking Hancock County Commissioner Dan Greathouse for his efforts fighting the bill in Charleston.

“We’re finally getting to the point where we are doing it now,” Kondik concluded. “I still believe I have the luxury of council working together with myself and the city manager on all of these projects. We are so lucky in the City of Weirton, and we’re looking at growth. We have very strong aspirations, and I look forward to the next year.”

Kondik mentioned numerous times that the cooperation and positivity of all city officials is what makes progress possible.

(Dalrymple can be contacted at sdalrymple@heraldstaronline.com)