WEIRTON - Although residents along Preston Avenue in Weirton are in favor of the construction of a new elementary school, which will sit in their back yards, some are concerned with the lack of communication between the city and the Hancock County School Board.
The Rev. Jim Rhodes, 123 Preston Ave., said he has spoken with several of his neighbors finding out each of them voted for the levy to support the school's construction and realized it will be right in their back yards. However, he said they were unaware of the lack of communication and courtesy from the school board that would come with it.
Rhodes said there was an elderly widow living on Preston Avenue who had not been notified of when construction would begin and upon hearing noises and seeing all the equipment, she was terrified. He said no one along his street was notified as to what was happening.
COMMUNICATION NEEDED — Residents of Preston Avenue are voicing concerns to city officials about noise, dust and a lack of communication between residents and the Hancock County Board of Education as construction of the new elementary school continues. -- Angelina Dickson
"The dust is unbelievable, not only from the dirt but from when they removed the trees," he said. "There are serious concerns over children with allergy and breathing issues."
Over the past several weeks, Rhodes said he has attempted to seek answers from Hancock County Superintendent of Schools Suzan Smith and Board President Jerry Durante.
"We voted for this and we are in favor of it because it's important, but we have lives too," he said. "There has been zero courtesy and we are frustrated."
Rhodes said the city's Zoning Board denied a logging permit several weeks ago even though the company agreed to allow several hundred feet of trees as a buffer but this major construction is taking place right along their property lines and residents aren't sure what to do.
Mayor George Kondik said he and several members of council and City Manager Valerie Means have sat in on three meetings with the Hancock County Board of Education and the various departments. He said he would attempt to orchestrate another meeting in hopes of ironing this issue out.
"The state has basically told our inspections department that we have little input on this major facility coming to the city," added City Attorney Vince Gurrera.
Rhodes said all he is looking for is clear communication between the board and the residents and thanked council for all of their efforts.
(Dickson can be contacted at email@example.com)