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Tour shows Berkeley Co. progress

November 13, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - From bright new swimming pool facilities to a promising new park in the Arden, W.Va., area, officials were updated on the progress of Berkeley County during a tour Thursday.

The first stop on the tour, led by the Berkeley County Commission, was a new pool that was opened this year in War Memorial Park in Martinsburg.

The pool complex, with creative water fountains and play equipment, was built with funding from the commissioners and Martinsburg City Council.

But the real excitement over recreation potential in the county was at the Poor House Farm Park in Arden.

The park contains 136 acres, which makes it bigger than the county's other 12 parks combined, said Steve Catlett of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Board.

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Officials are in the process of building a five-acre lake and a midget football field in the park. Tour participants also were led through a 154-year-old stone barn that could be used for activities, Catlett said. The park is set in a rural, open countryside.

"The potential here...it just makes you nervous thinking about it," he said.

Poor people were housed at the farm during the 1800s.

Officials then toured a new $350,000 senior center on High Street in Martinsburg.

In the afternoon, the group was scheduled to see several new industries and factories under construction, including the Sino-Swearingen jet plant being built at the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport near Pikeside, W.Va.

The tour group included members of the Berkeley County Development Authority and local media.

The commissioners handed out copies of their annual report for 1997. It shows 31 new residential subdivisions were approved in the county, affecting 890 acres of property.

The county engineer's office issued 2,000 building permits with an estimated market value of $211 million.

"It's expanding all the time," Commissioner D. Wayne Dunham said when discussing the county.

But, he added, financial assistance from the state has stayed the same in many areas, despite the county's growth.

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