WELLSBURG - The Weirton Redevelopment Authority has asked the Brooke County Commission for permission to include the former Weirton Steel railyard in its plans.
The county's emergency management agency and fire departments also received a boost from local legislators at the commission's meeting Tuesday.
Mark Zatezalo, chairman of the Weirton board, told the commissioners the board would like to extend its southern redevelopment district to include the railyard, which lies just outside of Weirton in Brooke County.
FUNDS SECURED — State Sens. Jack Yost, D-Wellsburg, and Orphy Klempa, D-Wheeling, presented confirmation to the Brooke County Commission of two grants, each for $10,000, secured to help the county’s emergency management agency and fire departments. On hand were, from left, Commissioners Norma Tarr and Marty Bartz, Yost, Klempa, Commissioner Tim Ennis and Bob Fowler, Brooke County EMA director. -- Warren Scott
Zatezalo said the site is among ArcelorMittal Weirton property up for sale, and the board would like to have input into its future use and including it in the southern district gives them some authority.
He and B.J. DeFelice, chairman of the Weirton Area Port Authority, cited the location's proximity to the Ohio River, U.S. Route 22 and the Half Moon Industrial Park on Freedom Way as key factors for its development.
Brooke County Sheriff Richard Ferguson, the county's chief tax official, asked whether the designation could affect the county's ability to receive taxes for the property.
Zatezalo said the designation wouldn't allow revenue to go to the city or redevelopment authority.
DeFelice suggested the board could write an agreement between it and the commission "so it's not giving any authority away, it's just allowing for planning."
Zatezalo agreed, at Commission President Marty Bartz's request, to submit the board's request in writing so it may be reviewed by the commission and its attorney, County Prosecutor David B. Cross.
In other business, state Sens. Jack Yost, D-Wellsburg, and Orphy Klempa, D-Wheeling, presented confirmation of two $10,000 Community Participation grants, awarded through the state Senate, for the county's emergency management agency and 11 fire departments.
Bob Fowler, the county's emergency management director, said the latter grant will help the departments to offset the cost of providing Hepatitis B vaccinations required for their members.
Fowler said the other grant will go toward communications equipment for the mobile command center he's developing with the help of the fire departments and their communities.
Plans call for the vehicle to provide phone service, via satellite, in the event an area's land line phone service is disrupted, response plans for fire departments to deal with emergencies at local industries and restrooms that may be used by firefighters responding to fires.
He estimated about $28,000 will be invested in the mobile center, which was established using a stripped down, retired vehicle once used by the Ohio County EMA for that purpose.
The commission also announced it is still seeking individuals to fill a seat on the Hammond Public Service District board, a seat on the county's building commission and seats on its planning commission.
The planning commission is involved in matters related to development and county ordinances, and the building commission is charged with pursuing improvements to the county courthouse and other facilities.
Those interested in serving on the boards should submit letters of interest to County Clerk Sylvia Benzo's office at the Brooke County Courthouse.
(Scott can be contacted at email@example.com)