The Pocahontas County Commission has been seriously considering building a new courthouse annex on the site now occupied by the old jail building. During the Mail Item portion of Tuesday’s meeting, a letter from Benjamin M. Riggle, Structural Historian of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, was read. In it, Riggle wrote that he and Susan Price, of that agency, met with County Commission President Walt Helmick and discussed how having the jail listed on the National Register of Historic Places affects the proposed annex project. Riggle said the County Jail/Jailer’s Residence has been listed in the National Register since 1994, and the jail building does not appear to qualify for any of the four reasons listed in the Federal statute to be de-listed from the National Register, making delisting, in his opinion, impractical. Because the jail is listed, the use of any federal funds to build the annex on that site would be problematic. Riggle suggested the commissioners consider alternatives to expanding the courthouse. Helmick said Pierce is willing to come to a future meeting to further discuss this. The commissioners still feel the jail site is the ideal location for the new annex.
During Hear Callers, Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Cara Rose talked about the public premiere of the eight Bicentennial Trout statues, which will be held Saturday, August 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Discovery junction in Marlinton.
In other matters, the commission
• approved a resolution in favor of the NTIA broadband grant application.
• authorized a request for proposals to find an engineering company to study the present county-owned water and sewer systems that serves Pocahontas Memorial Hospital, Marlinton Middle School and the West Virginia State Police office. The engineering firm will determine if those systems will accommodate expansions in that area. If the determination is made that they won’t, the firm will examine alternatives, such as expanding the Town of Marlinton’s water and sewer to the site or having the PSD build systems there.
• discussed the effect of a new West Virginia statute, which allows the county to take control of burned buildings that the owners received insurance pay-offs for, and then abandoned. Helmick said this could work well with his proposed demolition site at the East Fork Industrial Park, which is now waiting for Department of Environmental Protection approval.
• heard a report from Commissioner John Rebinski about his attendance of the Commissioners Conference in Canaan.
• heard from Mark Smith of the PSD and approved the application for a Small Cities Block Grant to extend a water system to the Thornwood area.
The commissioners also approved the following funding requests:
• Bryans Battery, Inc. – $750 to help fund the Droop Mountain Civil War Re-enactment on the second weekend in October.
• Pocahontas Prevention Coalition – $5000 to pay for a part-time position.
• The Tucker Community Foundation – $4000 for it’s “Run-For-It” fundraising event which raises money for area non-profit organizations in this and other counties.
In other actions, the commission:
• appointed Josh Hardy to fill an unexpired term on the Pocahontas County Free Libraries and Visitor Information Centers Board.
• appointed Jaclyn Hollandsworth to the Civil Service board
• authorized Mike O’Brien to purchase a new Unified Solution digital 911 recording system for the 911 Center at a cost of $22,925.
• approved the 911 Advisory Board’s By-Laws.
• discussed three possible solutions for stabilizing the bank of the East Fork of the Greenbrier River in Frank. A decision on this will be made at a future meeting.