A GUSHER of a deal came Bellaire's way Wednesday. It is one that offers the All-American Town an opportunity for growth and economic resurgence.
Waco Oil & Gas is bringing an influx of optimism, jobs and cash to Bellaire. When the West Virginia company closed the door on purchasing the Ideal Place on West 23rd Street, it opened a window for renaissance in the village. The Ideal Place, formerly housed a bar and restaurant.
Waco officials unveiled their plans during a press conference with village officials. The Glenville-based firm was represented by four top officials, including President Doug Morris.
Morris is the son of the company's founder. He is not short on words, personality or big plans. He said his dad started the company in Oklahoma in the early 1960s, moved it to Illinois before relocating into the tiny Mountain State town.
Morris said his dad is still active with Waco's operations and is an old-school guy. He prides himself in doing business professionally and treating people the right way.
Waco is hitching its wagon with Exxon. The mega-oil company drew rave reviews from village and Waco officials Wednesday as well as a local landowner. With such an association, Waco was welcomed with open arms by the Bellaire contingent.
Immediate impact will be realized in the utilization of a nice and formerly dormant building as well as 20-25 jobs. Waco said those hires will be local individuals.
Down the road, the prospects are just what the doctor ordered for Bellaire. The community was in need of a strong economic shot-in-the-arm and Waco delivered.
Waco is not the cure-all for Bellaire's ills. It is, however, a great jump start. Now Bellaire officials need to take the oil rig and run with it.
"I think it is absolutely great that Waco Oil & Gas has chosen Bellaire to open up in. I was sorry that I could not be at the meeting Wednesday, but look forward to meeting those in charge to personally thank them," said Bellaire Chamber President and Councilwoman Lou Ann Bennett. "This will give Bellaire a much-needed boost economically not to mention the fact that it will be one less vacant structure. That is a nice piece of property and it is good to see a company going to put it to good use. I will help in any way that I can as chamber, council, or citizen. I am very excited about the whole aspect."
I SEND out the deepest of sympathies to Dick and Sherri Flanagan of Bellaire. Their daughter Ashley died a week ago today. She was just 27. Ashley was a stellar athlete at Bellaire High but an even greater young lady, who always brightened your day. The Kent State grad was employed by Nationwide but donated much of her time and passion to Special Olympics. Our prayers are with the entire Flanagan family.
THE FORMER South School in Martins Ferry is now in good hands. James Carson recently purchased the dormant facility for $60,000 from the county commissioners. Carson is a great golfer and a shrewd businessman, whose family owns and operates United Dairy. I am sure James will make prudent use of the spacious building, be it for office space, an indoor golf facility or to house his dairy herd.
THE ST. CLAIRSVILLE Elementary School Community Playground Committee is making progress on its $300,000 endeavor. The group is currently working to clear some invasive plants, poison and dead trees in preparation for the construction of a nature based outdoor classroom. The group has ordered 35 tree seedlings to be planted by the St. Clairsville Elementary preschool classes on April 23, celebrating Earth Day. That will mark the playground's first new installment.
OHIO STATE'S Jared Sullinger is making a mistake by turning pro. He found out the hard way against Kansas that he needs another year of seasoning on the collegiate level. Sullinger was exposed by a 7-foot Jayhawk stiff. Sullinger must work on his outside offensive game. He is not the 6-9 in height as he is listed and could some extra work in the weight room. His Buckeyes' teammate DeShaun?Thomas, however, was smart enough to realize he needs a third season of college hoops to be prepared for the rigors of the NBA.
THE BATTLE lines are now drawn, even though Rich Santorum and other ill-fated GOP hopefuls may not realize it. After Mitt Romney swept three more primaries Tuesday, it is inevitable that the former Massachusetts governor will now be the Republican challenger against President Obama in November. He already has half of the delegates needed to secure the nomination. Not even a victory in his home state of Pennsylvania, which is no given, in the near future can rescue his campaign. His best hope is to get the vice-presidential call from Romney.
THE AVERAGE Major League Baseball salary is $3.4 million per year. That is outrageous.
HAM AND Easter go hand-in-hand. With that said, Americans consume about 51 pounds of pork a year on average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A HOPPY and blessed Easter to all our readers!
Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader online.com