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The clock’s ticking

By Staff | Apr 29, 2009

Progress is being made by the Tyler County Commission to see what can be done for the courthouse’s clock tower.

Commissioner John Stender volunteered at the April 14 commission meeting to gather some information on restoration of the aging clock, which hasn’t functioned properly in some time. Stender addressed the commission and local resident Jay Eisenhart at their April 28 meeting with what he had found out.

Stender spoke with Phil Wright with the Tower Clock Company in South Charleston, Ohio. Wright had previously done work on the clock back in 1996. After talking on the phone for 45 minutes, Stender asked Wright to throw out a ballpark figure on how much a complete restoration would cost. That number is $25,000. Wright offered to come to town to inspect the tower for $475.

Before the commission chooses to pay the inspection fee, the commission is waiting to hear from Tim Meeks with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council to learn what kinds of grants are out there for such a project. The commission is hoping to negotiate with Wright.

“I think we can negotiate with this gentleman if he gets the bid,” said Stender. “We need to do something.”

Stender also put a phone call into the Berbin company out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Berbin is the company that repaired the Wetzel County Courthouse clock tower. Stender has not received a phone call back.

Eisenhart made a generous offer to pay the $475 inspection fee, though the commission told him to wait until they could negotiate with Wright.

“I’m all hot to get something started,” said Eisenhart.

Stender said that enthusiasm for the project seems to be small. In order to gather more local input, Stender is working on forming a five-member committee to make recommendations for the clock tower.

“Is there a lot of enthusiasm? No. Is there some? Yes,” said Stender. “It’s not publicly known that it’s not working.”

Commission President Charles “Pork” Smith warned against spending a lot of county money on the project, since other groups in the area have only gotten small amounts from the county.

“In lieu of what other organizations and so forth in the county have asked for…to put that kind of money in that I think could be construed as negative,” said Smith.

“I’d like to fix it myself,” remarked Stender, “but to take money out of the budget, we can’t do that. We might be able to match part of it, but we can’t go for the full amount.”