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Commissioners continue tower talk

By Staff | May 13, 2009

The Tyler County Commission’s goal to repair the courthouse clock is turning into a greater project to repair the entire clock tower structure.

Last month the commission heard a plea from Jay Eisenhart to make the now defunct clock tower function again. Commissioner John Stender has been leading the charge for repairs to the clock, speaking with the Tower Clock Company in South Charleston, Ohio, which had previously worked on the clock back in 1996. Repairs to the clock could be as much as $25,000.

At the May 11 commission meeting, Dominick Cerrone with Cerrone Associates spoke to the commission about repairs to the entire clock tower structure.

According to Cerrone, the commission had previously dabbled with clock tower renovations.

“Back in late 2005, Keystone Waterproofing visited your tower,” stated Cerrone. “We took them up there and they looked at a variety of repairs that you guys just wanted to entertain at the time. There were a whole bunch of different things they looked at. In December of 2005 they provided a proposal to basically replace the clock tower finial, replace it, create a good solid base, and fabricate a new finial.”

Keystone has expertise in historic preservation, working in historic houses, courthouses, schools, churches, institutions and commercial buildings. Keystone provides technical assistance in determining the planning, restoration, and selection of materials, and provides master craftsmen and the latest equipment for the field of commercial, industrial and institutional architectural waterproofing and restoration.

The budget price at the time for the finial replacement was $17,500. For another $50,000 the commission could pay Keystone to repair the masonry around the clock tower.

“Unfortunately there is some pretty bad masonry up around the apron of that cupola,” said Cerrone. “There is some bad water damage there. There is some arching that needs to be reconstructed.”

The commission plans to put out bids in the fall for the project, though the project wouldn’t begin until next year to give grant proposals time to be approved.

“There is another outfit in Ohio that called that’s interested in it as well,” said Stender. “What I told them is, if we got the grant money to do it, it would be a year from now until we had an actual idea of what we could do.”

One possible grant is through the Courthouse Facilities Grant Program, which only requires a 20 percent match from the commission.

While the current proposal repairs the clock tower structure, it doesn’t include any work to the clock mechanism itself. Cerrone recommended that the commission bid out both projects as one, letting the contractor sub-contract out the clock restoration to another company.

“I’d say you’d want them all under one contract,” said Cerrone. “If it only costs $10,000 for that guy to come in and fix that clock, maybe you should just throw it into the whole contract. Generally a bidder might just sub it out. I would leave it up to them.”

“If we’re going to do it and we get the money, we might as well do it right,” stated Stender.

The commission is also looking for money from Vandalia Heritage, through U.S. Rep. Allan Mollohan.

In other business, the commission is requesting budget revisions for all county departments. They most recently made revisions to the County Assessor’s budget for new computers. The commission is awaiting 911 budget revisions to pay for OEM Director Tom Cooper’s full time status.

Stender met with the West Virginia University Extension and 4-H to tell them they would have to get along with what the county gave them in their budgets. The commission was unable to make any budget adjustments due to a shrinking general fund.

The Extension was given $19,000, but requested $23,000.

The commission employed Tom Wince to survey 4-H Campgrounds and put in permanent markers for boundaries.

On June 3, the third grade class from Arthur I. Boreman Elementary School will come to the Tyler County Courthouse from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. to tour county offices.