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Efforts to Save Home Extend To Demolition

By Staff | Mar 4, 2020

Demolition of the County Home began on Wednesday, as approved by the Tyler County Commission.

The Tyler County Commission met on Tuesday, February 25. The Commission addressed several matters, such as animal control and concerns about the County Home.

The meeting was called to order and began with the approval of the previous minutes, exonerations, and the fiduciary report.

The first to address the Commission was Jackie Hoffman from Pleasants County Humane Society. She expressed her concerns about the lack of animal control in the county. Sheriff Brian Weigle reported at this time, there is no dog warden or humane officer in the county. He said the protocol for instances such as a stray animal is to turn them over to the Olive Branch.

Commissioner Eric Vincent reported the County Commission does assist the Olive Branch with funding for medical needs, such as spaying and neutering.

When questioned why there is no humane society in the county, Sheriff Weigle reported the majority of the people in the county were against it. “People need to take care of their animals,” Weigle said. “That’s what we enforce.”

Stender also recalled there was an open meeting at the Courthouse prior to him becoming a Commissioner where this subject was discussed. He also reported the majority of the people attending the meeting were against it.

Hoffman reported there have been several residents of Tyler County who have called the Pleasants County Humane Society because the Olive Branch has turned them away due to being at full capacity.

“We have answered those humane calls and we have contacted Olive Branch and they have assisted us several times, but once again, they’re full… they will help us anyway they can,” said Sheriff Weigle.

“Personally, I have not received calls from the public,” reported Commissioner Vincent.

Hoffman stressed, “Like I said, I was just here to find out, for our own sake, what we’re supposed to tell people when they call us.” She reported the calls they are receiving has created an issue for them because the Humane Society feels it is their job to try to save each and every dog they are able to.

Hoffman then offered to help the Commission, should they seek to establish a Humane Society in the county. She said the Commission is welcome to reach out to her for help, advice, and even physical labor. She reported she would help anyway she could.

The next to address the Commission was Earnie Pelikan, representing the Tyler Citizen’s Action Group. “The mission of this group is to preserve or enhance historic sites, places of interest, and natural settings in Tyler County, in order to attract tourists and small businesses for economic and community growth,” said Pelikan.

She continuted by saying the message of the County Home has reached far and wide, touching the hearts of many throughout the state. She said the Tyler Citizens Action Group would like to make the County Home their first project. Pelikan mentioned the Harrision County Home in Cadiz, Ohio, from which they were looking for inspiration and information.

Pelikan noted the County Home would have to be productive so it would not later become a burden to taxpayers in the county, and with proper management that would not be an issue. She then posed the question, “Do we have a chance in getting the demolition halted?”

Commissioner Stender reported the demolition was already started, the contract was signed, and the demolition crew was bringing in the cranes. “In all honesty, we were concerned about this, and we brought in a forensic engineer from Columbus… and he went through it and came back with an assessment. It was almost 6 million dollars to put it back together. We would, all of us, saved that forty years ago, but they didn’t have the money. We are supposed to be very frugal with the money for the County for the taxpayers, to benefit them as a whole if possible,” said Stender.

He reported the copies of the assessment from the engineer is on file at the Courthouse for the public to access.

Pelikan asked if the land was going to be used for anything else. Stender reported the Americal Legion Auxillary has requested to put a Gold Star Memorial where the County Home stood, but there will not be a building put on the land.

The next item of buisiness was to approve the establishment of a checking account for the Tyler County Youth Camp. Stender reported it has to be set up as a seperate account so it doesn’t go through the county books. The motion was quickly approved.

Next on the agenda was to discuss the purchase of a lift station for the Town of Middlebourne. A representative for the Town of Middlebourne reported the lift station is located behind the Galaxy. It was reported the current lift station has served it’s purpose well, but is outdated and the Town is having trouble with it, sometimes down there two or three times a week. The Commission gave them possible ideas of where to look for funding. Vincent reported he would like to talk to Luke Peters from the Mid Ohio Valley Regional Committee to ask about possible assistance.

The meeting then moved to public comment. Chris Hoke addressed the Commssion with a concern about a truck that had pulled up and taken items from the County Home. She requested to know who it was, if they were given permission, and if the Commission knew where the items were.

The Commission reported when the contract was signed, the company retained salvaged rights.

Hoke said, “That contract should have been made public knowledge. You should have given the citizens of Tyler County the right to go in.”

Vincent reported several people had called and they were given the contractors information to call and speak with them. He said the bid was awarded last year, and it has been an ongoing process.

“We don’t have control of the building now. There is a liablilty factor, that’s why we put the fence up around it,” said Stender.

Following public comment, the meeting went into an executive session to discuss Courthouse Security.

Upon returning from executive session, the Commission met with WYK Associates to discuss contract proposals.

The meeting was then adjourned.