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Wood County Commission discusses grant for PRO officer

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Commission Thursday discussed a PRO Grant for law enforcement with Grant Consultant Toni Tiano.

The grant, which comes from the West Virginia Division of Criminal Justice Services, would be to continue a PRO officer at Blennerhassett School for a fourth year. The officer comes from the Wood County Sheriff’s Department.

The county is applying for $28,000, but Tiano believes they will probably get around $15,000. This will also be the first year the Wood County Board of Education is contributing money to PRO officers at middle schools and will be contributing $13,500 to the county for the program as well as whatever grant money they will get, Tiano said.

The officer receives regular training, Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens said.

“It takes a special officer to do that duty,” Couch said.

“Yes it does,” Stephens replied adding many factors go into deciding who does that work.

The person in that position now is very personable and interacts with the kids very well, Stephens said.

Colombo said he has heard from people who are glad the officer is there.

Stephens said having a police car visibly there on a daily basis adds an extra layer of security.

The commission approved the application for the grant.

In other business, the commission discussed a number of properties that needed their conditions addressed by the owners.

Wood County Compliance Officer Sarah Robinson discussed the properties located at:

* 2702 Division Street Extension Parkersburg

* 1003 N Power Avenue Parkersburg

* 603 Marrtown Road Parkersburg

* Meadowbrook Trailer Park Parkersburg

* 56 Gardenia Drive Parkersburg

* 1011 N Power Avenue Parkersburg

* 113 Keith Street Parkersburg

* 12825 Harris Highway Belleville

Issues such as large amounts of trash and debris on the properties, the conditions of houses/structures on the properties, unsafe conditions and more were discussed.

Commissioners want the properties cleaned up, have condemned/unsafe structures removed, have other structures secured and more done in regards to safety.

All of the owners of the properties were informed of the hearing, but only the co-owners of the Marrtown Road property appeared. Commissioners felt they had made progress in getting trashed picked up and more actions and gave the owners an additional 60 days to make more progress on cleaning up the property. County officials expressed the intention to help the property owners handle certain legal aspects they are facing in dealing with the property in hopes of clearing the way to eventually having the owners be able to restore the property.

All of the properties have had complaints filed on them and officials have wanted them cleaned up before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted everything.

Many of the other property owners have made little to no progress and the commission is considering taking action to clean those properties, officials said adding they will do their due diligence in continuing to try to contact the property owners to give them every chance to handle the problem. However, some of the properties will require action.

“With COVID slowing everything down, we have tried to be as lenient as we can,” Couch said. “But we have to make progress.”

Contact Brett Dunlap at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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