Foundation solid for planning agency

Domenick Mucci retired at the end of the year as the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission director.

Under his nearly eight years as director, the agency was able to secure more than $9.7 million in grant money. But, most important, Mucci was able to bring the villages, townships and cities together like never before.

There was a time when the communities expected to get Community Development Block Grant money on a rotating basis, so there was no need to attend the monthly planning commission meetings.

Mucci made the meetings mandatory in order to get the grant money. Now township trustees and village councilmembers can discuss similar problems and work together toward a solution.

Mucci took over the planning commission when it really only had two programs — CDBG and housing repairs. The planning commission now has a land bank, where vacant properties are purchased, demolished and sold back to private owners; a demolition program where more than 120 dilipdated structures were torn down; received $1 million in brownfield grants to study ways to cleanup industrial sites; and the county land use plan, which identifies areas of economic and community development, residential areas and public and private recreation.

The planning commission has been working to help low- and moderate-income residents and remove blight from neighborhoods.

Mucci said he recognized the core of Jefferson County doesn’t rest in the courthouse, but rather in every nook and cranny of the county. Township trustees and village councilmembers know their needs and use the regional planning commission to gather that information and find ways to help.

Mucci also was able to juggle his regional planning commission job with that of being Steubenville’s mayor.

Martin Sohovich of Mingo Junction was named as Mucci’s replacement. Sohovich said he has a history of turning a plan into action. He certainly has some big shoes to fill. Sohovich spent several weeks shadowing Mucci on the job.

We wish Sohovich well in his new job and encourage him and the rest of the members of the planning commission to continue the accomplishments that Mucci was able to secure.