Construction of New Restaurant on Fast Track; Campers Arriving

By the end of August construction is scheduled to be completed on a new building that will pave the way for the opening of two restaurants in the structure located on the perimeter of the Ohio Valley Mall complex.

Although construction started just two weeks ago, a one-story building that will house both the Long John Silver restaurant and also a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet is rapidly taking shape and the general contractor hints construction may be finished before the scheduled completion date the last week of next month.

Vern Nance, superintendent of the project for the general contractor, J.L. Moore Co. of Columbia Station, Ohio, said work has been moving along slightly ahead of schedule on the 3,000-square-foot building. An average of about 15 employees a day are working on the project. A local contractor, Powell Excavating of St. Clairsville, did the foundation work for the new building.

When completed, the wood frame building will have a color scheme that blends in with the two new, colorful buildings that recently have been constructed along the road that circles the main mall building. It is located adjacent to the new McDonald’s Restaurant and across the street from the Panera Bread outlet. The approximately one-third acre site of the new restaurant will be landscaped to include trees and grassy areas around the new building.

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Campers and recreational vehicles of all shapes and sizes are rolling into the area in preparation for the Jamboree In The Hills and many of them are parked on the grounds near the Carnes Center to await their entry to the site at Morristown.

When Eugene “Doc” Householder went to the Carnes Center on Wednesday to begin accepting the anxious campers to the parking areas, he found “there were about 20 campers waiting in line to get in.”

Householder, who is president of the Belmont Park District board, which oversees operations at the new Carnes Center, started the practice several years ago of accepting campers who came before the scheduled opening of the JITH, as a way to raise funds for the board. Campers are charged $20 a day to park there and the money raised this year for the first time will be divided between the park board and the Belmont County Fair Board.

“We had a busy day on Wednesday. We collected over $8,000 from the campers who were already there and also from some who paid in advance and would be moving in sometime later,” Householder noted.

By last Friday, there were 150 campers spread out over the center grounds. “We’ve been contacted that there will be 25 more campers coming in for the weekend.” By Friday the total amount collected for the parking privilege was over $12,000.

Besides offering the campers a place to park their vehicles, Householder has arranged to have an entertainment program each night, have available a fast food service vehicle and restroom facilities. “We have people coming from Kentucky, Canada, West Virginia, all over the country and I try to make them as comfortable as possible.”

On Monday morning, he said a sheriff’s deputy will arrive at the center to escort all of the campers into the parking area at the Jamboree site.

People from as far away as Canton, Cleveland and Pittsburgh will converge on Barton today for the fire department’s 14th annual Polkafest, an all-day event that features eight hours of continuous music, dancing and plenty of food and drinks.

Gates to the firemen’s field located on the Blaine-Barton Road will open at noon and the non-stop music will start at 1 p.m., featuring the sounds of three popular musical groups – Charlie Tansek & Chicago Tradition; Ray-Jay and the Carousels and the feature band from Buffalo, N.Y., the “Buffalo Concertina All-Stars.”

Besides chicken dinners, Polkafest Chairman Jeff S. Gazdik promises there will be “lots of homemade Polish dishes and desserts,” always a popular offering at the fest. A carryout window will be available for people not wanting to enter the dance area. In addition Gazdik notes there will be “door prizes, raffles, cash bar, and polka CDs and tapes will be sold.” Admission is $6 for adults and children 16 and under are admitted free.

When fireworks displays in communities throughout the area in celebration of Fourth of July come to an end, there’s always one more and and each year it seems to draw bigger and bigger crowds. That’s what is expected for the 12th annual Plaza West Fest in St. Clairsville on Wednesday, sponsored by Riesbeck’s Food Market and the Citizens Bank.

But before the aerial display begins, those attending the fest in the Riesbeck’s parking lot will be able to get free hot dogs, chips, ice cream and Pepsi with a donation to the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley between 5 and 9 p.m. Contributing to the event are Pepsi, United Dairy, Nickles Bakery, Kraft Foods, the Health Plan and NAPA auto parts. This fund raiser has been credited with adding thousands of dollars each year to the coffers of the United Way.

And while enjoying their food and snacks, attendees will be musically entertained by the band, Easy Street. It will perform from 7-9:45 p.m., concluding their performance just as the Pyrotechnics by Presutti is set to begin.

A gala birthday party is planned by AARP Chapter 2994 Belmont County West on Thursday, July 24, for local members and prospective members in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the national organization. Events include a buffet luncheon compliments of the St. Clairsville Department of Parks & Recreation and Kevin Barr, director, quilt raffle, entertainment by an Elvis impersonator, the P.I.L.L. nursing clowns, and free health screening between 10:30 a.m. and noon to include pulmonary, bone density, arthritis, vision, hearing, blood pressure and oxygen levels.

Admission to the event at the J.B. Martin Recreation-Senior Center at the fairgrounds in St. Clairsville is any one item for the food pantry. Reservations are limited and must be made on or before Friday by calling Lorena, 676-4264 or Jan, 695-6273.

Al Molnar can be reached via email at: amole0420\@aol.com.