ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The city of St. Clairsville continues to provide that "hometown feel," according to community officials.
The cover of a pamphlet offered to visitors at the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce has a quote that reads: "Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of Community." Jennifer Woollard, executive director of the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Robert Vincenzo couldn't agree more.
"It still has that hometown feel where residents come together," said Woollard. "No matter where you go, you're always going to see someone you know. ... I love that hometown feel about it.
St. Clairsville Mayor Robert Vincenzo stands in front of the Belmont County Courthouse in downtown St. Clairsville.
Photos by Scott McCloskey
"Downtown is beautiful ... it's vibrant," added Woollard, who cited a charming, unique quality of the downtown district. She said several years ago, many of the downtown business were able to take advantage of grant money to update their front facades since it is a designated historic district.
Woollard believes the community is also experiencing an upswing in its economic growth because of the emergence of the natural gas boom in the area.
"Business seem to be picking up," said Woollard who said hotels and various retailers in St. Clairsville are reporting more business.
St. Clairsville Calendar Of Events
- June 2, Soap Box Derby
- July 4, Independence Day Celebration
- July 19-22, Jamboree In The Hills
- Sept. 5-9, Belmont County Fair
- Oct. 25, Halloween Bash on Main Street
- Nov. 15, Christmas Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade
While the Ohio Valley Mall, Ohio Valley Plaza and Plaza West are centrally located near Interstate 70 and continue to attract a lot of business to the St. Clairsville area, Woollard said officials try to continue to attract business to the downtown district of St. Clairsville.
Woollard said the city's parks and the National Road Bikeway offer area families quality recreation locations. The nearly 7-mile-long bikeway has been featured in national trail publications. It is the only trail that traverses through a tunnel in Ohio. The 532-foot-long and 40-foot-high, cave-like tunnel has a stairway connecting the trail to an upper level plaza overlook and National Road. A large gazebo is situated in a residential area along the trail, with two adjacent nature walkways.
Over the past couple of years, the city of St. Clairsville has made updates on the playground area and swimming pool at Memorial Park. In addition, there are ongoing plans for the new St. Clairsville Central Park, located on the old Belmont County Fair site behind St. Clairsville High School. So far, an amphitheater has been built at that location.
"It's going to be a huge part of our community," said Woollard.
Vincenzo contends it is a lot of the little things that officials and residents do throughout the city that help make it a great community. He said the flower baskets the city puts up during the warmer months is just one example.
"The baskets in the city - it's amazing the comments we receive," said Vincenzo. "We work hard to keep these things up, to keep the neighborhoods intact."
He said the city continues to work hard on the services that the residents come to depend on, such as snow removal in the wintertime and the removal of leaves from the streets in the fall. "We're very up on that - to make sure that the neighborhoods are kept clean all the time."
Vincenzo said one of the most exciting things to see in the community is when there is a young family enjoying the bikeway trail together.
"When you see that scene so many times down there ... this is what makes this community go," he added.
"I've been a resident since 1957, and I've seen this town progress each year .... and we've made great strides over the past 20 years and we made great improvements throughout the city," said Vincenzo. "We say all the time, 'We don't want to tear down - we want to save and build.'"