Commissioners decide to purchase property

NEW CUMBERLAND – The Hancock County Commission is buying more property. This time it’s the Dollar General store on North Chester Street in New Cumberland.

“We thought it was too good to pass up,” Commissioner Mike Swartzmiller said on Wednesday.

“It could be used for a couple of things,” including as a garage or for records storage, Commissioner Dan Greathouse said.

Commissioners voted unanimously on Wednesday to buy the property for $232,000. The county originally offered $219,000 for the store, which measures about 7,000 square feet, Greathouse said.

Commissioners expect to take control of the property after the store vacates the location on April 30, he said. The Dollar General is moving to a new location on Ridge Avenue, at the former site of the Mid-Ridge Cafe. The restaurant, now named MJ’s Midtown Diner, was razed last month and has moved to 206 North Chester St., behind the New Cumberland Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3526.

The Ridge Avenue property was sold to DG Strategic LLC in December, according to the Hancock County Assessor’s Office.

Greathouse said the purchase makes sense because the county owns the land adjacent to the Dollar General, as far south as Paula’s House of Pets & Grooming.

Greathouse said the county, in addition to needing more storage space, is trying to acquire an inventory of properties available for economic development. In December, commissioners bought the properties of Newell Memorial Field and the former Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton from Hancock County Schools for $400,000.

Commissioners are preparing a bid package for the sale of the football fields and hope to have the demolition done by April 1, Greathouse said.

In other business Wednesday, commissioners agreed to seek bids for private operation of Kennedy Marina & Campground west of Newell. The marina currently is operated by Hancock County Parks and Recreation.

Commissioner Jeff Davis said whoever gets the contract would have to submit a development plan and reinvest the profits into the operation of the marina, which includes a concession stand, boat docking, boat launches, and camper and trailer rental.

Under the agreement, the county would receive a minimum of $2,000 of marina revenues each month – or $24,000 a year, Davis said.

Any contract also would be subject to approval by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service.

In a related matter, commissioners also approved a new set of bylaws for Hancock County Parks & Recreation and agreed to advertise for new members of the parks and recreation board, which currently has five members but is supposed to have nine.

Commissioners also agreed to solicit bids for grass cutting on various county properties and cemeteries. Sealed bids will be accepted until 2 p.m. March 25, and a contract will be awarded on April 4.

(Huba can be contacted at