COLUMBIANA COUNTY Emergency agency to get bigger office



A utility will provide most of the funding for the project.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Columbiana County should have a new headquarters for its emergency management agency by the fall of 2005.
Columbiana County commissioners announced Friday the replacement of the cramped EMA offices north of Lisbon.
The agency responds to a variety of problems from severe storms to man-made disasters and is involved in planning for response to terrorist attacks, according to its director, Jay Carter.
Jim Hoppel, commissioners president, said, "This will greatly contribute to the safety of our citizens."
Negotiations to create the building have been under way for about two years, said Commissioner Sean Logan.
The 4,800-square-foot facility will about double the size of the agency's office, according to Terry L. McCoy, vice president of Strollo Architects, which is working on the designs.
First Energy funding
Much of the funding -- $607,000 -- will be provided by First Energy Nuclear Operations Co., which runs the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pa.
The state EMA will also contribute $67,500 to the project.
Thomas Cosgrove, a First Energy official, said, "We're well aware of our responsibility to the people of the region."
The county has a variety of plans, including an evacuation plan, in case of trouble at the plant.
In the last regular test of the plan, which includes West Virginia and Pennsylvania and Ohio, Carter said federal officials found no problems.
When disaster strikes, representatives of a variety of agencies go to the EMA and work in one room to coordinate the response.
Logan said the current room "is not very functional because of its size."
The new building will have a 30-foot-by-40-foot meeting room, which is about 11/2 times the size of the current one.
The new facility also will have backup generators and transformers, a new radio antenna, offices and additional meeting areas.
Carter, who has been in the current EMA office since 1985, said, "The right time and the right opportunity have arrived."
Location
The new one-story building will be on South Market Street, one block south of the county courthouse. The building will adjoin the county engineer's office.
Part of the site is vacant. The commissioners have budgeted $40,000 to tear down the county-owned Carl building on Washington Street to make room for parking. The building houses a lawn mower repair business.
McCoy said that after the center is built, a future phase would add a garage at the back of the EMA to house agency vehicles.
wilkinson@vindy.com

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