The former teen center and event center building in Zaleski is one of the buildings designated for demolition in Vinton County with state funding the county has been awarded.  (Telegram Photo by Red Thompson, Jr.)
The former teen center and event center building in Zaleski is one of the buildings designated for demolition in Vinton County with state funding the county has been awarded. (Telegram Photo by Red Thompson, Jr.)

The Vinton County Commissioners signed an agreement to accept a $499,000 grant to be used for the demolition of multiple properties in the county when they met for their weekly meeting on Tuesday morning, July 12.

The agreement was brought to the commissioners by Vinton County Development Director Terri Fetherolf, who will be handling the administration work for the projects. She told The Telegram the complete list of properties to be razed has not been completed. The money will be transitioned from the state to the county level and will be coming from the Ohio Department of Development.

The Telegram recently received information from Fetherolf about some of the potential properties the county is planning to demolish. On the commercial side, one is the former Hamden Junction Restaurant building in Clinton Township, located just north of the village of Hamden. The building housing the one-time popular restaurant has become dilapidated and is one of the first buildings travelers see when they enter the village from the north on State Route 93. When the building is gone, a prime commercial lot will become available. Hamden Mayor Chuck Boyer told The Telegram he hopes the site is redeveloped for the benefit of Hamden, Clinton Township, and Vinton County.

 A vacant building in Zaleski which is on the demolition list served one time as a teen center. It has also become dilapidated over the years.

Alone, the lot does not appear to be big enough for a commercial business to locate there. However, the property is in the center of the village next to the Fisher Building. If neighboring properties are acquired, there could be sufficient space for a convenience store or retail business which has long been discussed as a need for the village, as Zaleski is 10 miles from the nearest gas station. Zaleski Village officials have been actively trying to get a retailer to come to the village and open a convenience store/gas station business.

The county also plans to demolish a building in Ray that once functioned as a grocery store.

The Development Department is also considering several residential properties around the county for demolition. The commissioners believe eliminating slums and blighted buildings is a key to keeping the property values up as well as keeping the local area attractive for travelers and tourists.

County government leaders as well as the Vinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau are currently moving tourism development to a new level. The commissioners stated the Hotel McArthur renovation, the development of the new park district and the completion of the Moonville Tunnel will boost the growing tourism numbers.

In other news from the July 12 meeting, Commissioner Mark Fout reported he is still looking for funding for the proposed $5.8 million water-line projects the county is trying to complete in the Garrett Ridge area. The county commissioners and the Vinton County Development Department have been working on the project for some time. They're hoping that outside grant money will be forthcoming to make the project happen.

 The commissioners learned from Ohio Valley Regional Development Consultant Ken Reed that the county could not apply for funding from the $500 million pool of development money the state has set aside for Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.

The Commissioners will have to find another avenue to fund the project for the sake of service and convenience. It has also been determined there are potential public-health issues with residents using the ground water due to the presence of salt tables in the area. Fout pointed out that the county has not forgotten about the need for this project and that officials are still pursuing every avenue they can to see it funded and completed.

The Vinton County Commissioners will be meeting again Tuesday, July 19 at 10 a.m.