Berkeley Co. signs roundhouse deed

February 04, 1999

Martinsburg RoundhouseBy BRYN MICKLE / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The B&O Roundhouse in Martinsburg was signed over to the Berkeley County Commission on Thursday, but the county is still about $136,000 away from taking final possession of the historic site.

With the county's roundhouse supporters trying to find ways to pay CSX by the July 1 deadline, the deed transfer allows the county to begin applying for state and federal grants to make the roundhouse dream a reality.

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"You can't apply for grants on something you don't own," said Berkeley County Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart. "I feel better now that we can go ahead and do the things that are necessary."


The county has not heard any response yet from West Virginia Gov. Cecil H. Underwood on its request for $75,000 to make emergency roof repairs to the complex, and Burkhart said the roundhouse committee is now considering a more extensive $275,000 project for permanent roof work.

There were questions earlier this year on the ability of the roundhouse to withstand the winter weather, but with spring approaching Burkhart said there is less likelihood a quick fix will be needed.

The emergency repairs had been estimated to cost about $75,000, but county officials have said that figure would dramatically decrease depending on donations of labor and materials.

The county will send a $50,000 check to the Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX as part of the deed transfer, leaving "a couple thousand dollars" in the roundhouse fund, Burkhart said.

Under terms of the agreement, the county has until July 1, 1999, to pay CSX the $100,000 balance and $36,000 to local developer Moncure Chatfield-Taylor for his purchase option on the property.

The County Commission plans to eventually transfer ownership of the roundhouse to an authority that would manage the property. Possible uses that have been suggested for the three buildings at the roundhouse complex include a tourist attraction, shops and a museum.

If the county fails to raise the money, it would get its $50,000 back from CSX, said Burkhart.

While the county holds the deed on the roundhouse, the commissioners are leaving most of the fund raising responsibilities to the roundhouse committee, Burkhart said.

The committee raised $27,000 toward the project with a Russian ballet performance in Martinsburg last year and is now looking at other fund-raisers. Possibilities include a repeat ballet performance, a downtown festival or bringing a NASCAR racer to the area for a breakfast and autograph appearance.

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