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Roundhouse in Martinsburg to get needed roof repairs

January 04, 1999

Martinsburg RoundhouseBy BRYN MICKLE / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

file photo




MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission approved an emergency plan Thursday that will allow roof repair work on the B&O roundhouse to begin as soon as the deed is signed.

The deed is expected to be sent to the county commission this week from the owners of the roundhouse, CSX in Jacksonville, Fla.

Jim Smith, who stepped down as Berkeley County Commission president Thursday, said the emergency repair is needed to patch up portions of the roundhouse roof that have deteriorated or, in some cases, blown completely away.

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"We need to patch that up as soon as the papers are signed," said Smith.

Smith said the repairs are expected to cost upwards of $75,000 but said that figure would dramatically decrease depending on the amount of free labor and materials donated for the project.

The emergency repair authorization, said Smith, allows the county to begin the first phase of the work without going through a bid process.

Smith said the county has found about $81,000 for the project but added more money needs to be raised.

Berkeley County must pay CSX a $50,000 downpayment when the deed is signed and will have to pay an additional $100,000 to CSX by July 1, 1999, said Smith.

The county also must pay $36,000 in July to local developer Moncure Chatfield-Taylor for the purchase option on the property, said Smith. The county has already paid $4,000 to Chatfield-Taylor for the option.

Smith said the county has invested $29,000 in the project and reiterated terms of the agreement that will allow Berkeley County to recoup its investment as more money is raised for the project. The county has already gotten a $25,000 West Virginia state grant and Smith said $27,000 has been raised in the private sector with more fund-raisers planned for next year.

"This is not a county project," said Smith. "This is a community project."

Plans call for the county to shift ownership of the complex to an authority that will manage the property and make sure the complex can at least cover its costs.

Smith added he sees the roundhouse as a key to the arts and tourism in Berkeley County.

"It will help make Berkeley County a special spot in the world," he said.

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