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Municipal building updates given

October 5, 2012
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

BEECH BOTTOM - Village Council on Tuesday received an update on renovations to the municipal building.

Crews with Unique Walls and Ceilings of Wellsburg have been working for months to apply a stucco-like facade resembling brick to the building's exterior. The $32,000 project is being funded by village funds and a $15,000 donation from Chesapeake Energy.

The old stucco and brick exterior around the building's windows had been chipping.

"As well as being aesthetically pleasing, it's going to help with our heating costs," said Beech Bottom Councilman Ted Westfall, who is co-chairing the project.

Westfall said crews have completed the upper portion of all but the south side and will be applying a surface resembling stone to the bottom of each wall.

It takes time for crews to stencil the brick pattern onto the surface and the work has been delayed recently by rain, "but the results will be worth the wait," said Westfall.

He said while he and other village officials wanted the building to be refurbished, they also wanted it to look as it did in the past. That includes the new awning with a metal roof, which alludes to the village's shared history with Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel.

"We have chosen to use light fixtures (at the front of the building) that look like ones they would have used when the building was built," he said, adding the lights contain light-emitting diodes which are more cost-efficient.

Additional lights will be added to other areas of the exterior, and wooden rear steps will replace the metal ones at the rear, as was done at the side of the building.

Westfall said crews hope to have the project done by winter.

He said details for a new handicap-accessible entrance are being worked out. The ramp at the side is not wide enough and is too steep to meet guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Westfall noted Jerry Haddon, village maintenance man, recently painted the front steps and rail.

The village also received a $32,000 state Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant for new windows and doors and solar panels added to the top of the building.

The Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission helped the village secure the grant, which was part of money awarded for public projects involving energy resources through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Chesapeake Energy and Range Resources, two natural gas drilling firms that have been operating from Beech Bottom, also provided $15,000 each for the project.

Officials with Milestone Solar said the solar equipment produces about 6,000 to 6,200 kilowatt hours of electricity over a 12-month period, about half of the building's normal electricity use.

In other business, council:

Discussed a petition by residents requesting streetlights for Third Street. Councilman Greg Sheperd said it's one of the village's more heavily traveled streets and children frequently walk along it.

Council agreed to have heavy trees trimmed to improve visibility as suggested by Mayor George Lewis, who also encouraged council members to visit the street at night to form their own opinions.

Met in executive session to discuss economic development with Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle but took no action.

Lewis said he can't comment on the session at this time.

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