East Palestine says leaning pole proves its point

EAST PALESTINE – It couldn’t stand upright any longer. Thursday afternoon an aging Ohio Edison utility pole began a slow descent toward the road, the result of rust and gravity.

Council clerk and village administrative assistant Misti Martin said the pole in front of the administrative offices on North Market Street began leaning toward the road around 2:30 p.m.

The incident is somewhat ironic considering Village Manager Pete Monteleone had already scheduled a meeting with Ohio Edison for this morning to discuss the possibility of having poles on that street replaced.

The meeting was scheduled weeks ago and Monteleone said the pole’s falling has only furthered the village’s argument the poles are aged.

“I feel we really need poles and this proves it,” he said.

The pole didn’t actually fall on the road but was leaning over far enough that village workers closed a segment of the road to traffic to prevent any accidents. Ohio Edison was notified and responded to address the problem.

The road was closed for several hours while crews removed the pole completely. Police Chief Kevin Dickey said he wasn’t sure when it was going to be replaced.

Dickey was at the scene helping with the road closure, along with Water and Wastewater Superintendent John Jurjavcic.

Monteleone said to his knowledge power was not out in that area as a result of the pole’s falling. No outages were reported on the Ohio Edison website.

Monteleone, Councilman Don Elzer and Mayor Margo Zuch said the Ohio Edison poles on North Market -and specifically that pole – are all significantly rusted at the base.

Monteleone witnessed the pole fall toward the street and said the base “snapped” because of the rust. He also said he met with a company representative a little more than a month ago to discuss the possibility of having the poles on North Market replaced because of their condition. The meeting today was to again go over that request.

Elzer and Zuch recalled that at one point the village had asked the company if banners or pendants could be placed on poles around town but they were advised it wasn’t safe since the bases couldn’t handle the additional weight.

The village is requesting about 45 to 50 poles from the area of Dairy Queen to the public library be replaced.