Trustees commend gas co. for improved communication

CALCUTTA – St. Clair Township Trustees say they are pleased with the response from Columbia Gas officials concerning the way in which a gas main update project in Glenmoor was being conducted.

At a meeting Feb. 11, trustees and township road foreman Scott Barrett put forth several complaints about Columbia Gas’ gas main infrastructure update project, which affects some 21 roadways in the Glenmoor area. Among its main grievances were claims that Columbia Gas crews had been working without flaggers or construction signs and that roads excavated for the project were in bad shape, making trustees concerned they may not be restored to their original condition when the project was finished.

Trustees also stated they were not always aware of the location of construction crews. They said this could have posed a danger to township emergency personnel, who trustees say need to know about road closures or the location of construction crews.

Trustees said Tuesday, however, they have been in close contact with Columbia Gas representatives since an article highlighting their concerns ran Feb. 13 in The Review. Barrett said he has been meeting with Columbia Gas representatives nearly each day and reviewing construction plans.

Barrett says he now acts as a go-between for the gas company, informing township emergency personnel about road closures and the location of construction crews. Trustees noted that all Columbia Gas crews they have seen recently had all the necessary signage and flaggers. As for the condition of township roadways following excavations by Columbia Gas, Barrett said he intends to inspect the roads in the spring and hold the gas company to its assurance that roads will be returned to their original condition.

“I explained to them that they can fix the roads all they want now, but come spring we’re going to do another inspection,” said Barrett.

Trustees said that although the gas main update is causing a “temporary inconvenience” now with poor road conditions, the longterm payoff of the project will mean better infrastructure for township residents.

“They’re upgrading a problem and fixing the grid to prevent problems in the future,” said Trustee Chairman Robert Swickard. “They’re fixing these problems and pouring a lot of money into it, so it’s a good project.”

In other business, trustees announced they will be applying to have a nuisance property on Purrington Avenue demolished using “recaptured funds” from the Moving Ohio Forward grant program. Trustees explained that funds for the program were originally distributed by the state to the counties which in turn distributes them to municipalities and townships. Some of this year’s funds were unused and were taken back by the state, which redistributed the funds back to the counties. Columbiana County is now offering these unused funds to municipalities and townships looking to demolished condemned properties. Trustees approved submitting the derelict property at 49497 Purrington to the county for consideration to be included in the program.