Trading post will be repurposed

BETHESDA – There may be some changes in the future to the Bethesda landscape related to the old primary school – but not anytime soon.

Local businessman Joel Braido, who owns and runs Braido Memorials, said at some point he would like to use the old primary school property that he owns for a two-unit condominium for retired people. He said it would not be government-subsidized housing. The structure is partially leased and sits on about 6 acres in the middle of the village.

“The school building itself eventually will be removed. It’s functionally obsolete. To try to retrofit it to use it today would be cost prohibitive,” Braido said. “We are going to use it as long as we can. We want to preserve it as long as we can. I’m not in a big hurry to do it. … That’s one we will eventually see through.”

Braido is no stranger to redeveloping properties. He purchased, renovated and rented four old gas station buildings in the village. He knows how to do the work himself, but also has a crew of workers. One of those stations he worked at as a teenager.

Braido also recently purchased the former Barkcamp Trading Post, a 4,000-square-foot building located on the way to Barkcamp State Park. He doesn’t have any particular idea for it, but he hopes after he renovates it someone will start some sort of retail venture there.

“With all the industry in the area, there could be food service or lodging or some type of retail – it’s a great spot,” Braido said, referring to the gas-drilling related activity in Belmont County.

“It all takes time. … I just don’t want to see the building sit there empty and fall down.”

Braido, a lifelong resident of Bethesda, said he enjoys giving back and trying to help the community that supported him his entire life.

“That’s been my mind-set with these old buildings in town – let’s fix them up and use them. … It’s a matter of making opportunities – creating opportunities,” said Braido, who has a business degree from Ohio University. Braido once owned and recently sold a funeral home service.