Magistrate court parking space improvement begins

NEW CUMBERLAND – Hancock County officials want to make sure there’s a place for people to park when they visit the new Hancock County Magistrate Court.

On Thursday, county commissioners took the first step toward developing land adjacent to the former New Cumberland Dollar General building into parking spaces.

The land is owned by the county, but in order for the necessary drainage and preparatory work to be done, the county also must have access to the state right-of-way along state Route 2, said Robert Vidas, executive director of the county’s Office of Technology and Communications.

Commissioners agreed to apply to the West Virginia Division of Highways for the right to lease the right-of-way land.

“I have had preliminary discussions with the DOH, and they are willing to discuss the lease option,” Vidas said.

Such a lease would allow the county to clean out the drainage area, clear away the weeds and brush, and do any other necessary site work, he said.

Workers with Trushel Construction, of Weirton, currently are remodeling the interior of the Dollar General building on North Chester Street. Commissioners bought the building for $232,000 in February 2013 and want to adapt the retail space for reuse as a judicial complex.

In June, commissioners awarded the construction contract to Trushel after accepting its bid of $668,000. Browne Group Architects, of Columbus, are the architects on the project.

The work will involve developing the large open interior space into a new home for Magistrate Court, which currently occupies a small building on Court Street.

Also Thursday, commissioners:

Agreed to launch a Wi-Fi network for the Hancock County Courthouse. The unsecured network will be available for use by attorneys and other people visiting the courthouse during regular hours – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays – Vidas said.

The network will be separate from the one used by courthouse employees and should be available for use by the public on Sept. 2, Vidas said.

Users will be limited to one hour at a time. Sessions for users who have left the building but forgotten to log off will be terminated after an hour, he said.

Approved the ballot language for the Hancock County Library Excess Levy, which will be up for renewal on Nov. 4. The four-year levy generates an estimated $200,000 a year for the county’s three libraries in Chester, New Cumberland and Weirton.

Re-appointed Chuck Gracie to the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority.

Agreed to reimburse sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Connors for $497 in tuition he paid for a Web Security class he took at Belmont College. Commissioners suspended the employee Tuition Reimbursement Plan in June, but Connors was “grandfathered” in, Vidas said.