WILLIAMSON – A statewide effort to remap and address residents according to 911 and United States Postal requirements is close to completion in Mingo County.
Remapping and addressing the area according to requirements has caused address changes for many residents throughout the county.
Remapping and addressing is a statewide project that has taken the state years to complete. Efforts to map and address the county according to 911 and United States Postal requirements began in 1999.
According to Monica Hinkle, Mingo County Assistant Addressing Coordinator, her office is waiting on approval for the final six addresses. Currently, Mingo County is home to about 20,000 residents.
“Our last sheet went out in April. We are waiting for state approval,” added Beth Cisco, Mingo County Addressing Coordinator.
“I estimate that the project will be complete within the next six months,” Hinkle said.
“We have a set of rules that we are required to follow. We have to do everything according to the 911 Addressing and Mapping Ordinance and it takes a lot of time,” Hinkle said.
Hinkle explained the lengthy process required to complete this project. “First, we go out and locate the structure number for every resident in the county. Once the information is collected, we upload the photos and data into the SAMS mapping system. Then, we receive edit sheets based on the new data and that allows us to match the home to the new address. Once that is complete, we submit it to the state. After that, we submit it to the postal service for approval and they send us a copy.”
Once the postal service approves the new address, the address coordinators send letters to residents informing them of a change in address.
Lorene Vance, Mingo County 911 Director, said that residents living in the Dingess area can expect to receive their notification letters this week.
The remapping effort has faced numerous challenges. Vance explained one issue 911 faced was fixing pre-existing problems caused by previous efforts. “The County Commission gave us control in November. We have made a lot of progress since then,” Vance said.
County Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith said that efforts to complete the project have been unsuccessful in various attempts made by both state and local governments due to the mountainous geography of rural Mingo County.
“Another problem has been that a lot of people in this area currently share mailboxes. That has made it harder to provide addresses for every house,” Cisco explained.
One issue that is currently concerning address coordinators is being able to assist the elderly during this transition. “We have a lot of elderly that can’t get out faxing in the information we need. We are concerned. We try to help them out. County Commission is currently looking for volunteers to help assist the elderly,” Cisco explained.
If there is anyone in need of assistance with the remapping paperwork, Hinkle asks that they please contact them for help at 304-235-3839 or 304-235-3843. “If no one answers, please leave a voice mail,” Hinkle said.
When complete, Cisco feels that the result will be worth the effort it has taken to complete this project. “It will be great when it is finished. When someone calls 911, we will be able to see an actual photo of the house. The addresses are going to work out well,” Cisco said.
Additional information on 911 mapping and addressing can be found at www.dhsem.wv.gov.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279