Jackson County Animal Shelter bid authorized at Jan. 5 county commission meeting

Suzette Lowe
Special to Jackson Newspapers

Two major projects received good news at the Jan. 5 meeting of the Jackson County Commission. One took the first step in fulfilling a promise, the other took a final step.

A bid for the Jackson County Animal Shelter was approved. Grae-Con Construction, with a bid of $2,198,000, was chosen for the project. The only other bid received was from Paramount Builders for $2,455,400. Silling Architects has designed the facility to be built on property adjacent to the current shelter.

Several steps still need to be accomplished before actual construction can begin. Much of that is related to the bonds that will be issued to finance the venture.

“Because the county commission cannot take on a loan, the county’s building commission will actually be the agency that will be deeded the property and will approve the chosen bank’s terms,” explained Eric Holmes, county attorney.

Dick Waybright, who was selected for another term as county commission president, said this has ‘been a long time coming’ and a ‘major step for the county.’

“If things go well, and we don’t run into supply issues, we hope to break ground in the spring and be ready to open in the fall,” he said.

Jackson County Courthouse

Commissioner Mitch Morrison, who has been the chief overseer of the broadband tower project in the Sandyville area, reported that AT&T has finally added its service.

“Sandyville’s tower is finally fully lit up,” Morrison said. “AT&T has been added and that has made all the difference in the world. I’ve gotten a lot of calls from residents expressing their appreciation.”

Montana Boggess, director of the county’s 911 center, stated that T-Mobile will soon be adding 5-G to their services in the area.

“All of this is great news for Gilmore Elementary in particular,” Boggess said. “They have struggled for some time with internet access.”

With redistricting being required due the 2020 census, a few changes in polling places will take place in the county.

County Clerk Cheryl Bright presented the commissioners with a notice of proposed changes which was approved for publication. The final approval will take place at the Wednesday, Feb. 9, meeting.

“We didn’t have to make too many adjustments,” Bright said. “We’ve added one precinct, Meadowdale Baptist Church in Sandyville, due to state senate redistricting.”

A polling place at the McDonald Building at the county farm has been added. In addition, those who voted in the McIntosh building will now use Ravenswood High School as their poling location. The McIntosh building was the site of a fire in 2020.

Saturday, Feb. 26, will see the first-ever Polar Plunge in Jackson County. Sponsored by the West Virginia Special Olympics, a 24-foot swimming pool will be placed in the elected officials’ parking area. The Ripley Volunteer Fire Department will fill and drain the pool.

John Corbett, chief executive officer of the organization, informed the commission that this event has been taking place in various cities around the state.

“We just take the pool with us wherever we go,” he said.

In approving the request for the event, Commissioner Mike Randolph said he was happy they could support the cause.

“They do tremendous work here in the county,” he said.

In this first of the year organizational meeting, commissioners were assigned their specific responsibilities, including being liaisons for certain boards and county organizations. These included Jackson County Animal Shelter, Fair Board and Jackson County Health Department (Waybright), Jackson County Solid Waste Authority, Jackson County Library Board and Southern Jackson PSD (Randolph), Jackson County Airport Authority, Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council and Northern Jackson PSD (Morrison).

The next meeting of the commission will be Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 9:30 a.m. at the courthouse.