Beautification Under Way

Benwood officials hope to lead by example as they take steps to improve the external appearance of the city building on Main Street.

Police Chief Frank Longwell said the city building may be difficult to recognize after municipal workers and contractors give the structure a major face-lift. Longwell said he hopes the city’s actions inspire residents to take an interest in the appearance of their personal properties.

“We’re just trying to prove to our residents that we’ll all do our part, and we hope they’ll do the same,” Longwell said.

Part of the effort to beautify city property is the installation of nine new upstairs windows at the municipal building, Longwell said. He said the old windows were more than 100 years old. Allied Plate Glass of Wheeling is the contractor for the project, which cost $15,000.

The municipal building is also scheduled to receive a new entrance sign featuring time and date information. And planters around the city building/fire department complex are being cleaned and improved by Beckett’s Landscaping and Irrigation of Wheeling for $5,000. Longwell said the city is using Beech Bottom’s city building as a model for the improvements and remodeling.

Shortly after visiting with Gary Beckett, Mayor Ed Kuca said he is pleased with the progress the company has made so far.

“What they’re doing down there is very beautiful,” Kuca said. “It’s going to really clean up that area and make it look better.”

He said the idea of fixing up the municipal building area has been in the works for two years. Whenever he or Longwell traveled, he said they made sure to hunt for ideas from other municipal buildings around the area.

After gathering inspiration, Kuca said he and Longwell brought the ideas before City Council so members could brainstorm and figure out exactly what they wanted done. Once that was decided, he said, the city included the project in this year’s municipal budget.

“We allocated $100,000 this year for beautification,” Longwell said.

Longwell and Kuca said the city hopes to have the majority of the work finished by autumn, though Kuca said renovations to the city building are likely to continue into the fall.

Other upcoming projects in Benwood include repaving three major streets and tearing down two dilapidated houses, according to Longwell.