Mine center closure was anticipated

CADIZ – Last June, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Mineral Resources Management held its sixth-annual Ohio Mine Safety Competition at the state-of-the-art Jerry L. Stewart Mine Safety Training Center in Cadiz. Six months later it has announced the facility will be closed.

“This is what we expected,” said Michael Sliva, president of the Cadiz Community Improvement Corp. “We were aware that they had until the end of April to dismantle and vacate the warehouse space.”

Bethany McCorkle, chief of communications at the ODNR, had stated that the state was in negotiations with Tappan Holdings on an agreement that would allow ODNR to occupy the current office space and two training rooms in Cadiz.

According to state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, the state has kept its promise and has signed a lease on the office facility, which will preserve a few jobs and maintain a presence in the area. “Which is a partial victory.”

“All along the mine simulator was in question,” Gentile said in a phone interview while waiting to hear Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State address in Medina. “It is disappointing. It was my hope that we could have dialogue about continuing to provide a training center in Cadiz or Harrison County,”

Tri-State Post 6 of the National Mine Rescue Association has held its annual Ohio Valley Mine Rescue Contest at the facility, but the 2014 competition is slated to be relocated to Moundsville.

“If this is a fact, I would say that I am disappointed,”Gentile added. “The competitions were a great economic boost for the area.”

Gentile said he plans to contacting the ODNR for an update on its plans, emphasizing the need to include a training facility for miners in the budget.

“I still feel the state needs to maintain a broader commitment to mine safety,” the senator said. “We must continue to provide the best mine safety training for our miners and, hopefully, we can bring a simulator facility back into Eastern Ohio in the future.”