Belpre projects completed in 2013, more underway

BELPRE – In 2013, the city of Belpre experienced several changes with projects being completed as well as the opening of new businesses with more in the works for this new year, an official said.

“We got a lot of things done in the last year,” said Mayor Mike Lorentz.

The largest project to have been completed was the Farson Street turn lanes and other work along the north end of the roadway.

On Nov. 1, crews with Shelley and Sands Construction removed the last barrels and barricades from the area and allowed traffic to and from U.S. 50 to move freely for the first time since August. Farson Street has now been widened from the intersection with U.S. 50 and tapers back to two lanes near Rockland Avenue.

Work was done in a two phase process and included widening the street to create turn lanes, sidewalks, roughly 20 street signs and a traffic light at the entrance to the Memorial Health Systems Health Bridge Medical Park campus.

This work is expected to be the final project to better serve the residents and businesses in the growing west end of Belpre.

The construction on this project was funded through federal grants, the Ohio Public Works and about $110,000 from the city.

The city also completed an expansion of the Belpre Senior Center with a new room to allow for public events and more activities for the growing number of seniors who frequent the facility.

Also completed was the Safe Routes to Schools grant project which saw the construction of 3,200 feet of sidewalk along Rockland Avenue to better allow students to walk to Belpre Elementary School.

Natural gas and electric aggregation to save the residents of Belpre money as the city acts as the provider of these two utilities was also completed.

“It was a very busy year,” Lorentz added.

The past year also saw the opening of several new businesses, including the Lark’s Nest antiques and Smitty’s Pizza.

This coming year will see the completion of the third phase of the new Memorial Health Systems Health Bridge Medical Park expansion and a new fire station two on Farson Street.

The third phase of the expansion of the medical campus on Farson Street just off of U.S. 50 will include a free-standing, 24-hour emergency department and endoscopy services.

This includes 20 patient exam rooms, imaging services including CAT scan, X-ray and ultrasound as well as a full medical laboratory with the ability to draw and interpret results immediately. There will also be an ambulance based at the facility around the clock to transfer more critical patients.

This facility will join the first phase that includes primary care and specialty physician offices, diagnostic services, the Strecker Cancer Center and Physicians Care Express and the second phase, which opened in July.

The new fire station is needed as the current Farson Street building will be torn down as part of the current expansion of the Health Bridge facilities.

The new station is expected to be completed by May 1.

“There are a lot of great things going on and 2014 should be a great year for Belpre,” Lorentz said.