Brooke residents air road, bridge concerns

WELLSBURG – Concerns about the condition of a local road and the appearance of the West Virginia side of the Market Street were brought to the Brooke County Commission Tuesday.

Anthony “Butch” Rotellini of Cross Creek asked the commissioners when repairs will be made to a slip along Rockdale Road, saying the hazard has existed for several months.

He noted the narrow, winding road will be used by school buses and young drivers using it as a shortcut to and from Brooke High School when the school year begins in two weeks.

County Commissioner Tim Ennis said he and the other commissioners were concerned about the road also and contacted the West Virginia Division of Highways, which maintains the road and others in unincorporated areas.

Jim Andreozzi said state highway officials have advised of plans to secure the road with pilings in the near future but he didn’t know a start date.

Commissioners also heard from David Van Beveren of Follansbee, who said while attending concerts at Historic Fort Steuben that he heard comments from attendees about the appearance and condition of the area at the end of the walkway along the Market Street Bridge.

Van Beveren said he was told the walkway’s railing doesn’t extend far enough, making it possible for someone to fall down the adjacent hillside. He said there also are high weeds and trash, creating an unpleasant first impression of West Virginia for those crossing the span.

Ennis said that area also falls under the jurisdiction of the state Division of Highways but he agrees that littering is a problem there.

“It looks like everybody dumps their garbage there,” he said.

In other business:

Dan Greathouse, executive director of the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau, reported on the agency’s efforts last year.

Greathouse said the bureau spends about $200,000 each year to promote attractions and events in Hancock and Brooke counties, including Follansbee Community Days, the Brooke County Fair and Wellsburg Applefest.

Through the cooperation of past Brooke and Hancock county officials, the bureau was expanded several years ago from serving just Hancock County so Brooke County could benefit from hotel taxes collected in Weirton for the agency.

Representing Brooke County on the CVB’s board are Andreozzi, Bill Konkle, who coordinates the Discover Brooke County event supported by the bureau; Janice McFadden, manager of Brooke Hills Park; and most recently, Alex Koscevic of Bethany College.

County Clerk Sylvia Benzo advised there are vacancies on the volunteer board for the Northern Panhandle HOME Consortium, through which federally funded loans are awarded to income-eligible first-time homebuyers.

The loans provide up to $10,000 for down payments and closing costs for homes in Brooke and Hancock counties and are forgiven if the homebuyer has lived there for five years.

The commissioners noted there still are vacancies on four local boards: Brooke County Parks and Recreation Commission, which oversees Brooke Hills Park; solid waste authority, which oversees the county’s recycling program; and building commission, which is charged with pursuing improvements to the county courthouse and other county buildings.

Anyone interested in serving on any of the boards should submit letters of interest to the county clerk’s office.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)