PRESS RELEASE  ( 2 pages )                                                                     April 4, 2004



CONTACT: Sue Douglass   






On WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14th, the Blaine Bridge Community Preservation Project is pleased to welcome Ohio Department of Highways District 11 Deputy Director Myron Pakush as guest and featured speaker at a special event to celebrate obtaining the funding for the repair of the 1828 Blaine Bridge, and kick-off the launch of the adjacent park site development effort.  The sit-down dinner and social will be held at Undo’s West in St.Clairsville. The meal will be lemon baked chicken, roasted red potatoes, green beans, salad, and bread. Desserts will be provided by Project members, under the direction of committee chair Peg Baker.  Tickets are $20 per person.  Purchase and reservations can be made by contacting any Project member, visiting, or calling 740-695-1221, and should be in before April 12th. There will be door prizes, music, and a brief program. Project items and memberships will also be available at the event. There will be no regular meeting in Blaine this month.


The general public is urged to participate in this event. “The local support of our communities, and the steadfast loyalty of our membership made our first phase effort a success and make this celebration possible”, said Sue Douglass, Chief Officer of the Project. “ With the precious artifact in the safe and expert care of ODOT, we can turn our community attention to providing a proper framework for the beautifully restored 1828 Bridge.” Members of  civic organizations such as Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, and historical societies are anticipated to be at the event.


 In February, ODOT Director Gordon Proctor announced the full funding of repairing Ohio’s Official Bicentennial Bridge. Additional ODOT personnel are expected to attend the dinner. “ The people in ODOT are our heroes,” emphasized Douglass.  “ Director Proctor will be forever appreciated for his  skillful leadership. Dave Shafer, Rick Secrest, and Mike Halleck are members of our group. From the start, ODOT officials such as Deputy Director Pakush, Roxanne Kane, Linda Baliff, Karen Young, Paul Staley , Brett Walters, and Ron Bovetsky are among the key ODOT people who applied their skills in saving the Bridge.  Working with Belmont County Engineer Fred Bennett, ODOT has been vital in the preservation of the structure.”


Bennett is expected to be at the dinner, as are Pease Township Trustees Roger Weaver, Bob Zilai, and George Becca, Glenn Harper, Ohio Historical Society, Marianne Huey, Governor’s Office of Development, Don Pickenpaugh, Belmont County GIS, Eugene “Doc” Householder, Belmont County Tourism Office, and Gabe Hays, landscape architect.  “These officials worked long and well together to get us through the competitive processes for funding, and they have our deepest gratitude’”, said Douglass and Project President Greg Zelenitz.


“The funding and full restoration of this valuable historic site is a major achievement for the entire Valley.  We will have the positive ripple effect we desired.  In light of all the recently revealed development plans for the area, this Project gives a sense of balance and integration, an intertwining of old and new, of heritage, culture, and economics.  It illustrates utilizing and emphasizing the great variety of assets we have here”, stated Douglass.



An additional component of the April 14th celebration event is a roster of special sponsors.  To date they are : Ohio State Rep. Charlie Wilson,   John Goodman( Goodman Realty),   Bob Zilai  ( Z’s Jewelers ), Jack McKeever (Angelina Stone ), Robert Thomas (Thomas Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep), Jeanne Sayre (Sayre Real Estate ), John Jenkins (Jenkins Sporting Goods), Presutti and DeRosa Family Dentistry, Ohio Sate Sen. Greg DiDonato, Ohio State Rep. John Domenick , D.Michael Jamison, and Dr.Ralph and Barbara Lach.  Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor may call 740-695-1221.




The $1.6 million preservation work will be completely funded and handled by ODOT.  They are expecting to open bids in May for work to be done this summer and completed by winter.  The local Project will turn its attention to raising funds for the site development.  Details will be discussed in the upcoming meetings.