Firm hired to remove asbestos at old JFS

LISBON – Columbiana County commissioners took the first step toward demolishing the old county welfare office building by hiring a Mahoning County contractor on Wednesday to remove and dispose of asbestos.

Commissioners voted to award the asbestos removal contract to the Howland Co. of Youngstown for $24,460, which was the lowest of the four bids received.

The decision means commissioners are moving ahead with plans to demolish the county Annex No. 1 building on Nelson Avenue, which served as home to the county Department of Job and Family Services from the late 1970s until last April, when the JFS relocated to the new county government services building off state Route 45.

After initially abandoning plans to raze the building, commissioners changed their minds and decided to do the project in phases, depending on the cost, with the first phase focusing on removing asbestos from the building, which was constructed in the 1950s. Once this is completed sometime this year, the next step would be to seek demolition bids.

Although commissioners have no immediate plans for the property, they intend to do something with it.

In other action at yesterday’s meeting, county Extension Office director and 4-H coordinator Katie Houk briefed commissioners on the office’s 2012 activities, noting more than 700 youths participated in the 4-H program last year.

Houk also reminded commissioners not to forget her agency when it comes to funding. Commissioners provided the extension office with $15,000 initially but usually provide more as the year goes on. That was the case in 2012, when commissioners provided the extension office with $60,000 during the course of the year, with the state contributing another $100,000.

The next meeting is 9 a.m. March 13.