Repairs to area courthouse facade, fire escape discussed

HONORED — William Demjan, second from left, on Thursday received a proclamation from the Jefferson County commissioners recognizing his 15 years of service on the Area Agency on Aging advisory board. Demjan also has served for years on the county veterans service commission. Participating in the presentation were, from left, Commissioners Tom Gentile, Thomas Graham and David Maple. -- Mark Law

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday discussed improvements to the rear of the courthouse.

Commissioners signed a contract with Angelina Stone and Marble of Bridgeport in the amount of $98,880 to repair a section of the courthouse that became exposed when the annex building was demolished a couple of years ago to make room for a parking lot for residents doing business at the courthouse and for elected officials.

Commissioners received $50,000 in funding provided to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office by the Rover pipeline project for restoration of historic sites around the state.

Stones will be replaced and window openings recreated to match the original look of the courthouse.

Workers with Angelina Stone and Marble already have erected scaffolding to begin the work.

Commissioners also discussed repairs that are needed to the enclosure of the fire escape at the rear of the building. Commissioners have received an engineer’s report showing that the fire escape is structurally sound but the enclosure is rusting away.

Commissioner Tom Gentile said a company specializing in steel painting said the enclosure will need a lot of work and may have to be replaced. Ohio building code requires the enclosure around the fire escape, he said.

“When the facade project is finished, the fire escape will still be a major expense,” Gentile said,

Commissioner Thomas Graham said the courthouse is on the national historical registry.

Gentile said the city’s landmarks commission will have to approve any work proposed.

Commissioner David Maple said he would like to see alternatives to the fire escape.

Commissioners, at the request of Evan Scurti, executive director of the Jefferson County Port Authority, approved adding Yorkville to the county’s enterprise zone. The village is split between Jefferson and Belmont counties. He said the Belmont County section already is part of that county’s enterprise zone.

Scurti said the former steel mill was purchased by a developer who is preparing the site for reuse.

A business locating at the site may ask for a tax abatement, Scurti said, adding the addition to the county’s enterprise zone will have to be approved by the state.

Commissioners also approved a proclamation concerning the mural depicting scenes from the movie, “The Deer Hunter,” which was unveiled on Thursday in Mingo Junction. Part of the movie was filmed 40 years ago in the village. Mingo Junction is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of the film as part of its community days this weekend.