GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioners voted Thursday for the annexation of property into the village of Rio Grande.
Residents of Raccoon Township and Rio Grande have been in debate during the course of the last year over a group home facility for developmentally disabled adults on Cherry Ridge Road.
The county commission voted unanimously to grant the annexation.
ResCare, a private provider of services for disabled people and one of the largest of its kind in the country, owns the land in question. ResCare representatives said they believe it is in their facility’s best interest to join the community of Rio Grande to better attain services the village provides, as well as “reimburse” it for its assistance by becoming an entity associated with the municipality. The facility already was formally running under Rio Grande’s waste water treatment services.
“We have put a great deal of thought into this and can appreciate the concerns of people against the annexation. We think it’s for the betterment of Rio Grande and it will help them grow as a community,” Commissioner David Smith said.
“I am glad the decision was made by the commissioners. This helps Rio grow a little more,” Matt Easter, mayor of Rio Grande, said.
The Rio Grande Village Council to agreed with the decision to make the ResCare facility part of village limits in August 2014. Raccoon Township trustees voted against annexation of the facility the following September.
A hearing was conducted July 9 to discuss the county commission possibly overruling the trustee vote. In a filled room, residents of both Rio Grande and Raccoon Township discussed the merits and disadvantages of the ResCare facility joining the municipality. Statements were made about the concern of the facility’s occupants and the safety of its neighbors. Others remarked the facility would be supervised “24/7.” One man felt the facility had been built too close to the road. Raccoon Township trustees did not appear at the hearing. Rio Grande village officials did attend.
Ultimately, commissioners declared they would make no decisions that day and had a 90-day period to consider before rendering a decision on the annexation.
Commissioners on Thursday determined the gain of territory for Rio Grande village to be more beneficial than the loss of territory for Raccoon Township. The commission arrived at that conclusion in roughly 14 days.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.
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