Unfortunately, the closing of the Jerry L. Stewart Mine Safety Training Center's state-of-the-art simulator in Cadiz is now a reality.
The simulator served as a vital component in the proper training and education for coal miners. It yielded a more competent miner, making for safer worker conditions.
The center has also provided a solid financial boost to Harrison County, as it housed the Ohio Mine Safety Competition for the past six years. That event will now be staged in Moundsville.
The shut down of the center's simulator makes no sense. A similar mine training center is expected to be opened closer to Columbus.
Harrison County is in the heart of coal country. Taking such a vital training vehicle out of Eastern Ohio smacks of politics at their worst.
"This is what we expected," said Michael Sliva, president of the Cadiz Community Improvement Corp. "We were aware that they had until the end of April to dismantle and vacate the warehouse space."
Unfortunately, those fears have come to fruition. Harrison County and the mining industry are both losers in this scenario.
The only solace is that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has signed an accord to occupy the current office space and two training rooms in Cadiz. That agreement will at least preserve a few local jobs.
State Sen. Lou Gentile has championed the cause from the onset to keep the training center in Cadiz. He plans on contacting the ODNR for an update on its plans, emphasizing the need to include a training facility for miners in the budget.
We hope Gentile's efforts prove fruitful. Regardless, the closing of the Cadiz simulator is another case, like Ormet Corp., where Eastern Ohio is not a high priority for state politicians.