With 88 counties to work in, the state couldn't move the bell-casting earlier, a commissioner said.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Columbiana County Commissioner Jim Hoppel's efforts to get the county's bicentennial bell cast earlier than planned have rung a sour note.
State officials in charge of scheduling the castings in each of Ohio's 88 counties are refusing to change the originally set date, which will be during the county fair week in July 2003.
The exact date has yet to be determined.
Hoppel had wanted the two-day public casting held earlier in 2003 so the finished bell could be used in parades and displays throughout much of that year. Not only is the state marking its 200th anniversary in 2003, so is Columbiana County.
Hoppel said he was told earlier this week that the July 2003 date is firm.
Juggling the schedules
State officials explained they're trying to plan the castings in counties throughout the state and can't juggle the schedule to meet every county's needs.
"It's a nightmare scheduling all 88 counties," Hoppel said he was told.
The county will make do with the July 2003 date.
"We'll still have a great event," Hoppel said.
Final plans for the county's bicentennial celebration are still being laid.
Organizers envision events at the fair that will allow those attending to watch the bell being cast.
After the fair, the bell may be used in other events in the county marking the bicentennial.
Eventually, it will be permanently mounted at the county courthouse.
Ohio's Bicentennial Commission is overseeing the bell castings, which are being funded by the state.
The state hired Verdin Co. of Cincinnati to visit each county in the next two years and cast a bell on site.
Individual counties are responsible for paying the cost of hanging and displaying their bells.