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Bridge, dilapidated structures before Brooke commissioners

RAZING — Crews with Charlie Isinghood Excavating of Wellsburg razed two structures at 3027 and 3029 Pleasant Avenue, near the north end of Wellsburg. The Brooke County Commission purchased the properties last year in hopes of establishing a new ambulance station there. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — The Brooke County Commission, Tuesday, received an update on construction of the new Ohio River bridge and agreed to hire a new inspector for dilapidated structures, illegal salvage yards and overgrown yards.

Brooke County Sheriff Rich Beatty told the commission officials with the Flatiron Corp., the Broomfield, Colo. company building the span, hope on April 20 to move the bridge’s 830 foot long mainspan from the assembly yard near the Wellsburg Smith Oil, where it has been built, to its permanent site about a mile south of the city.

Plans call for it to be transported down river using four barges and lifted 80 feet into the air by large hydraulic cranes and onto its piers.

Beatty noted the move is expected to occur over a 24-hour period, while raising the span into place could take 16 hours on the following day.

Officials with the state Division of Highways have stressed projected dates for the move are tentative because weather conditions will be a factor in the operations.

Beatty said there were plans to close state Route 2, in part because drivers are likely to be distracted by the spectacle, but officials have indicated the highway may be reduced to one lane.

The sheriff said he will update the commission as details are finalized.

In other business, the commissioners announced Anthony “Butch” Rotellini, the county’s former inspector of dilapidated structures, illegal salvage yards and overgrown yards, has returned so he can train Tom Mirabella of Follansbee to fill that part-time position.

Following the meeting, County Commissioner Stacey Wise said Trevor Richmond, who had been hired through the county’s solid waste authority to perform that task, will focus instead on litter control and the illegal dumping of tires and other bulky items.

Richmond also is a driver for the solid waste authority.

A county ordinance approved in 2005 states property owners may be fined $100 per day for accumulation of debris, dilapidation, overgrown vegetation, fire hazard, toxic condition, accident/injury hazard or lack of ventilation, light or sanitary facilities as well as “other conditions which cause the dwelling or building to be unsafe, unsanitary, dangerous or detrimental to public safety and welfare.”

Residents may submit complaints of such properties, for the commissioners’ review, through the county clerk’s office at the county courthouse. Owners of such property must be given time to address it and have a right to appeal decisions against them by the commission.

In related business, on Tuesday crews with Charlie Isinghood Excavating razed a small vacant house and a trailer formerly occupied by the 30th Street Cafe on the north end of Pleasant Avenue in Wellsburg.

The property was acquired by the commission for $26,500 last fall.

The commissioners said the purchase accomplished the goals of obtaining two vacant, dilapidated structures and land near state Route 2 on which a new ambulance station could be built.

Plans call for the station ultimately to replace the ambulance station near state Route 67.

Also on Tuesday:

Mike Bolen, administrator of the county’s health department, said its vaccination of residents against COVID-19 is winding down, with about 50 percent of those eligible receiving vaccine. He noted the percentage doesn’t reflect residents who have received vaccine through local pharmacies or out of state.

Residents 16 and older still seeking vaccination may set an appointment at https://www.picktime.com/brooke of if they don’t have access to the internet, by calling (304) 737-3665.

Bolen noted drive-up testing for the coronavirus continues from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Tuesday at the Wellsburg Banquet Hall on 12th Street. Participants should bring a photo ID.

County Commissioner Tim Ennis told Bolen many residents told him they found the health department’s vaccination clinics to be well organized.

The commission approved the hiring of part-time employees Michelle Cipoletti for the assessor’s office and David Seladoki for the ambulance service and learned of the retirement, effective April 30, of Debbie Keener from the assessor’s office.

The commission announced a vacancy on the Brooke County Public Library board of trustees following the resignation of Carol Churchman. Letters of interest in the volunteer seat should be sent to the county clerk’s office.

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