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The Show Must Go On: Summer Concerts, Projects Planned in St. Clairsville

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The city is continuing some events and projects despite the COVID-19 pandemic, modifying them when possible to meet social distancing requirements.

The annual St. Clairsville Summer Concert series was set to begin Tuesday night at the amphitheatre with the band The Muddle, but was canceled due to bad weather. The next concert will be held July 14 and be performed by Twice as Nice.

The concerts normally begin in June, but like many events were canceled due to the coronavirus. The concerts will continue until Aug. 4.

Some St. Clairsville officials voiced concern about the upcoming events during Monday night’s St. Clairsville City Council meeting held by teleconference.

Councilwoman Beth Oprisch asked what precautions will be in place, and Councilwoman Linda Jordan responded the ground will be marked with places for people to sit at a sufficient distance from each other. Jordan also said Recreation Director Sean Hanley recommended going forward with the concert series and that there will be signs promoting safe heath practices.

“Is somebody going to be monitoring that? Is there any kind of ability to enforce that if it would become an issue?” Oprisch asked.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” Jordan said.

“The cases are going up, and there’s issues with crowds,” Oprisch replied.

Mayor Kathryn Thalman said she was watching the latest coronavirus information closely, adding that while there has been a recent spike in Belmont County, many of the usual concert-goers are older and conscious of necessary precautions.

“If there’s a problem, we will be addressing it quickly,” Thalman told council. “If people aren’t paying attention, we will have to do something.”

Council President Jim Velas said last year’s gatherings saw more than 100 attendees.

“Hopefully common sense will show up with the people,” Velas said.

Thalman also reported a successful Fourth of July parade, where 25 vehicles including police, firefighters, and sheriff’s deputies drove through the city to great enthusiasm of residents.

“So few places were doing anything to celebrate the birth of our country, it was well-received,” Thalman said.

People had been unable to assemble to view a parade due to the pandemic.

“In this crazy time we’re living in, there’s a little bit of public spirit and patriotism going on in St. Clairsville, Velas said.

Thalman also reported the city is continuing to explore short- and long-term solutions to flooding on Bellview Street during heavy rains last weekend.

“It’s been a busy two-week period, a lot of it occupied with Bellview,” Thalman said, adding 3 inches of rain came down during a period of 45 minutes. “We had a very hard rain two Saturdays ago.”

Thalman lent a hand to clear backed-up sewers during the flooding, as did council members Terra Butler and Perry Basile and police Officer T.J. Stewart. Thalman commended them for the assistance.

Since then, she has been looking at the history of flooding in that area.

She also has been conversing with Diversified Engineering about possible courses of action. There are records of flooding issues on that street dating to 2005. Thalman said a smoke study of the pipes was done in 2016 and will be updated.

“We are going to resmoke these sewer lines to see if there could be any root balls or anything else in there,” she said, adding the pipes were not built to handle such heavy rain.

Also, Thalman said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requires reports be filed whenever there is flooding. She said this had not been done in prior years. She said there is a city ordinance forbidding residents from draining their gutters or downspouts into the sanitary pipes.

“Most people do. I guess it’s never been enforced, but we are going to look to putting some teeth to that,” she said.

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