ROMNEY — Hampshire County has 314 more homes now with access to county broadband and 2,111 residents have been vaccinated against Covid by the county Health Department, the Hampshire County Development Authority Executive Board learned at its meeting last Wednesday. 

Both the broadband council and the health department submitted written reports. 

County Technology Coordinator Aaron Cox reported still having supply problems, describing the availability of materials as “sporadic and unpredictable,” and noting that while prices of materials have stopped rising for now, freight prices are climbing. 

The staff has resolved most problems on the lines from Ford Hill/Cupps Road up to the solar farm just below the fairgrounds in Augusta, as well as the lines from Hampshire High School to the U.S. 50 / Route 29 North split. 

Roughly a quarter to a third of the homes that are provided access though the different county projects sign up for county broadband. 

The Health Department reported vaccinating 2,111 individuals since October — 152 of them in May and 41 in the 1st 13 days of June. 

They offer vaccine clinics for those 12 and up every other Monday and Tuesday at the health department, as well as offering Pediatric Pfizer shots and boosters to 5-11 year olds. Appointments are required. 

The county is averaging around 30 cases of Covid a week. There was 1 death in May, bringing the total number up to 74. 

Flu shots are also available by appointment. 

The Health Department has requested an increase in the fee for well water testing to $65 from $55, to help offset increased costs for gas and the time of the employee collecting the sample. Opportunities for public comment on this closed last week. 

In other business, Gina’s Soft Cloths’ move to the Romney Business Park has allowed the company to add 4 new full-time employees, and they are looking for 3 to 4 more. 

Development Authority Executive Director Eileen Johnson said she is thinking of developing a job fair for Gina’s Soft Cloths and other businesses seeking labor. 

Johnson reported the “substantial completion” walk through the old Hampshire Memorial Hospital site has been done, and the contractor will proceed with Phase 3, removing the remaining contaminants from the crawl space, while the demolition phase begins. 

The State Historic Preservation Office has accepted the archeological survey done of the site, allowing demolition to proceed. 

Johnson said the Development Authority could expect to be able to advertise the contract by mid-August, and added that the building should be down by early to mid-fall. 

Thrasher engineer Patricia Escoriaza pointed out allowing the abatement and demolition phases to overlap should help speed up the process of making the site available for construction of one of the county’s new elementary schools. 

Johnson reported that the completion date for the Capon Bridge sewer project has been moved back to Feb. 3 because a generator needed for completion of the town side of the project will not arrive until January. 

The Capon Bridge Technology Park side of the project should be completed in October, allowing the Development Authority to market the tech park as a full service park. 

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