Renovation of Former Belmont County Jail Set to Begin in St. Clairsville

Cleaning and renovating of the exterior of the former county jail building adjacent to the Belmont County Courthouse and the Belmont County Sheriff’s Residence Museum will begin soon and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Belmont County commissioners recently accepted a bid from Coon Restoration & Sealants Inc. of Louisville, Ohio, for a total of $112,500. The cost covers $18,000 for cleaning, $70,000 for applying new mortar and $24,000 for painting, and the contract likely will be signed this week.

Commissioner Mark Thomas said a grant of $50,000 from the Ohio History Connection will go toward the work, with the balance to be paid from revenue generated by the state’s casinos in the same way that the year-long renovation of the courthouse exterior was funded.

The project is identical in kind to the renovation on the courthouse.

“There should be no problem getting it done (by the end of the year). It’s a much smaller scale,” he said.

Thomas added that next week the commissioners should have a clearer timetable of when each portion of the project would start. Once the exterior of the old jail is complete, the commissioners will consider internal renovations and future uses for the building.

“We’re going to look at finding some money to renovate the interior,” Thomas said. “Then, if that’s not possible, we’ll let our casino funds build up a little bit more and then we may go in and use those.”

Thomas said the possibilities for the building include office space or storage. The building is more than 100 years old, but Thomas said the solid structure easily could be repurposed.

“The state of the inside is in disrepair. The building’s a fortress, though,” Thomas said. “The building’s in good shape as a structure. There’s nothing deficient, it just needs total renovation inside, as it does outside.”

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