Infrastructure, new SCHD home discussed during Commissioners

By Patrick Keck -

SCIOTO — The Scioto County Commissioners held their first weekly meeting of May Thursday, addressing 20 items on its agenda before tending to six appointments later that day.

Two resolutions were read proclaiming this month in celebration of Community Action and Older Americans. In attendance for the reading was Community Action Organization of Scioto County Executive Director Steve Sturgill.

“Community Action is alive and well,” he said, estimating the organization served 13,000 county residents last year. “The agency has probably never been in better shape financially and when that happens our community is better served.”

Bringing in a gross revenue of $22.5 million, the organization employs 134 full-time and 154 part-time workers and spreads its work among five major divisions- Energy, Weatherizing Homes, Workforce Development, Women, Infants and Children and Social Services.

As Commissioner Bryan Davis explained, CAO has worked on getting meals to local children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. For three Wednesdays each month, Sturgill projects the organization has distributed more than 2 million pounds of food since May 2020 which does not include their work with the schools.

The complete impact of their work Davis said may never be known.

“That was something that we worried about greatly,” he said, school closures leading to decreases in child visibility. “It was nice to see that there are still individuals that would have eyes on these situations.”

The commissioners also unveiled the next portion of infrastructure developments, this time toward the West Portsmouth Waste Water Treatment Plant. A $1.6 million contract between the board, Scioto County Sanitation Engineer JP Pickelsimer, and Geiger Brothers, Inc. for the needed modifications and additions was the result.

As the contract stipulated, the work will be completed “substantially” over the next 320 days and the final payment coming within the next 365 days. Combined with the $1.4 million Purtee Acres work, more than $3 million has been invested in these two projects alone since April 29.

Addressing Scioto County Economic Development Director Robert Horton, its website now seeking bids for development, Davis said infrastructure like this plays a key role in advancing the county.

“You know all too well how important it is to have adequate infrastructure in place to attract business and also just to make it really nice for residents,” he said to Horton. “These upgrades are much needed.”

The final item on the agenda will go toward the Scioto County Health Department, who through a contract with Sparks Construction and the commissioners will obtain new office space. A smaller operation, SCHD has used two workspaces to create an office in years past until now.

Using money from the CARES Act, $49,781 is going toward the establishment of what Davis described as the “Taj Mahal” in terms of upgrades. The new space, previously used by former Ohio 4th District Court of Appeals Judge Matthew McFarland plus another available suit, is in the courtroom annex basement.

Now just waiting for a generator, the enlarged area Davis said will allow SCHD to better serve the community both during and after the pandemic.

“One of the things we really wanted to do was invest in our health department,” he said of the CARES Act which has gone to varying county projects and departments. “The needs of our citizens have increased, the services that can be rendered have increased, and the need to have more of a clinical setting is necessary.”

By Patrick Keck

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.