Theater, arch under discussion

STEUBENVILLE – The North Fourth Street Historical Arch is undergoing structural repairs and a new paint job and will be re-installed when the John Russell Construction Co. completes the work this year.

Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi told members of the city’s Historical Landmarks Commission Friday the $30,890 project will include electrical repairs.

“I have also talked to the maintenance and repair superintendent and we agreed we won’t be installing the Christmas wreaths after the arch cover is installed,” said Petrossi.

Commission Chairman Scott Dressel provided his colleagues with a Grand Theater restoration project update during the meeting..

“We received two grants including $20,000 from the PNC Charitable Trust and $25,000 from the Pugliese Trust that have allowed us to order new windows for the second and third floor of the front facade of the theater. Nelson Fine Arts and Gifts has agreed to do the woodwork for the front wooden fascia that has deteriorated over time. Once the windows are installed and the decorative wooden fascia is finished all of the wood will be painted the Grand Theater green,” related Dressel.

“We started repointing the front brick wall Thursday and hope to have a special tool by Monday that will allow us to move that part of the project faster,” added Dressel.

Dressel said he is still waiting for details on when the theater project will receive the $140,000 grant from the state capital budget.

“That money will be used for a new heating and cooling system in the theater. So far we have interest expressed by Cattrell Cos. I want to hire an Ohio company because the grant is from the state of Ohio. The representative from Cattrell has inspected the theater and proposed a heating and cooling system that would limit our expenses but at the same time do the job. It was interesting to watch the contractor walk through the theater and decide exactly what would work in the building,” Dressel said.

Dressel said the theater restoration organization will hold an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 14 while other downtown activities are taking place.

“We will have popcorn and a young man who sings Dean Martin songs,” Dressel added.

Petrossi said the Urban Projects office will resume recognizing property owners in the city’s historical district who have done renovation work on their buildings.

And, Petrossi said he has been asked to consider implementing the facade rehabilitation project in the downtown business district.

“We had this program several years ago that allowed the city to use Community Development Block Grant funds for applicants who wanted to restore a roof or a front facade. The average cost at that time was about $72,000 for the project and we were able to give the property owner $35,000 in a forgiveness five-year loan. This request is something we can consider when we allot our CDBG funding for next year,” declared Petrossi.

“We can reach out to the downtown business owners to determine the potential interest. I believe there are at least two business district property owners who are interested in the program,” said Dressel.

“We have also received a request for future CDBG funding for the North Fourth Street Historical District streetscape project to replace missing broken light poles or missing street signs,” noted Petrossi.

“Maybe we can also have some of the trees planted as part of the streetscape project trimmed back,” suggested Dressel.

Judy Brancazio of the Jefferson County Historical Association announced the museum on Franklin Avenue will hold an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 17.

“We will be honoring the military servicemen and women of this area. One of our members has found letters written by by service members in Europe during World War II,” said Brancazio.

City Manager Tim Boland said the city is repairing or will replace the Dean Martin marker that was at the corner of state Route 7 and Franklin Avenue.