Commissioner Board Meeting Updates (9-16-21)

At Thursday’s meeting, the Greene County Commissioners recognized September as Suicide Prevention month, distinguishing Sept. 10 as Suicide Prevention Day. They also approved September as Recovery Month-in regards to  drugs and alcohol addictions-and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Month. Both Commissioner Mike Belding and Betsy McClure were present; Blair Zimmerman was absent due to his vacation plans. 

Cathay Cipcic, Director of the Office of Veterans’ Affairs, attended the meeting and spoke on the new “Together” program for veterans in Greene County. The program focuses on rural suicide prevention amongst veterans. Cipcic explained how the program will be facilitated and recognized the hard work of the committee members.

“We’re proud about it,” Cipcic said. “It’s right here for a lot of us. I know it’s a serious problem, but we’re going to work through it.”

Belding and McClure approved a contract adding $300,000 to the CDBG-CV grant. Crystal Simmons, Community Development Block Grant Program Administrator, spoke at the meeting about the grant. She explained how nine businesses in Greene County are remaining open because of the grant. 

The program has funded 24 businesses in the county. The grant program was created shortly after the Cares Act was funded to Greene County. Since then, the program has pushed out roughly $900,000 into the community. It is estimated that nine more jobs will be created with the additional funding, and that 15will be retained. 

“The program has been rather successful so far,” Simmons said. “Retention is important here.”

Simmons added that funding is still available, and she encouraged businesses to reach out. McClure recognized the work of Simmons and the grant committee. 

“I would just like to really credit Crystal and the Planning Department for all their hard work,” she said. “As she noted, the state is very happy with it and has used our program as a model throughout the state. And that’s awesome.”

The Airport Restaurant’s current struggle with renovations was brought up at the meeting. Belding and McClure approved the renewal lease between Greene County and Kathy Kiger, owner of the Airport Restaurant. Rent is set at $1,000/month, in addition to utilities.

“As much as residents want this up and running, we do too,” Belding said. “It’s been a struggle between planning and things that don’t meet code and everything, but we’re moving forward as swiftly as we can.” 

Jenny Bardwell, President of Together Green PA, promoted the Habitat Restoration mini-conference. The event will be held Thursday, Sept. 23 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The conference will be held in Lions Club Park at the Jaycee Pavilion. Community members are welcome to join and share their thoughts.

“What we’re looking to do at this conference and with the project, Habitat Restoration, is to engage the public on these pipeline pathways,” Bardwell said. “There’s miles and miles in Greene County of pipeline pathways, and we’re interested in getting them to be seeded with not just grass … but wildflowers, for pollinators, and native plants for all kinds of wildlife.” 

Bardwell added that Together Green PA is interested in applying for grants. She also mentioned the program’s interest in working with the property owners and the pipeline pathway companies.

The proposal for a paving project on Jessop Trail at Wisecarver was approved. Commissioner McClure gave an update on the trail.

 She informed the public that the trail is currently available for public use. She is hoping sports teams will begin utilizing the trail for practices. Many individuals have already walked and picnicked on the trail. Some couples have even taken their wedding photos on the trail.

“This is a huge asset to the county,” McClure said. “We’re very pleased so far.”

The Salary Board and Retirement Board also met on Thursday. The commissioners removed seasonal employees from the payroll. They also approved the hiring of new caseworkers, including Waynesburg alumnus Kassidi Rice. 

The Retirement Board had no updates to share.