W.Va. roundhouse supporters seek time to raise funds

April 01, 1999

Martinsburg RoundhouseBy BRYN MICKLE / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Supporters of efforts to buy the B&O Roundhouse in Martinsburg are trying to buy more time before the July 1 purchase deadline.

Delays with a deed transfer between CSX and Berkeley County hampered initial fund-raising efforts, prompting the Roundhouse Committee to seek an extension, said Committee Chairman CEM Martin.

The county took possession of the deed in February and now has three months to raise $136,000 for the final purchase of the historic site.


No firm date has been set for an extension, but Martin said CSX officials have been "receptive" to the idea during preliminary discussions.

While the Berkeley County Commission holds the deed on the property, the County Commissioners have said it will be up to the community to raise money for the project.

The Roundhouse Committee has raised $25,000 toward the purchase price and fund raisers expected to bring in upwards of $35,000 are in the works.

Tickets are on sale for a return performance this month by Russian dancers with the International Ballet Theatre.

The dancers will perform two shows April 24 at Musselman High School in Inwood, W.Va. Tickets for the 7 p.m. performance range from $50 to $250 for reserved seats and $25 for general admission.

A shorter matinee at 2 p.m. will cost $15 for adults. Anyone 16 years old and younger will be admitted free with an adult. Children are asked to bring in two cans of nonperishable food to be donated to a local food bank.

About 50 seats in the 600-seat Musselman auditorium have been sold so far and organizers expect ticket sales to pick up next week.

The Roundhouse Committee also has obtained permission from the City of Martinsburg to hold a day-long festival July 3 on Martin Street between Queen Street and the Roundhouse.

The event will feature crafts and food and will culminate with a 7 p.m. performance by the Millbrook Orchestra at the Apollo Theater.

"We think this will give people a chance to see the Roundhouse and raise awareness about what we're trying to do," said event organizer Judy Martin.

The committee is still looking at the possibility of bringing a current or retired NASCAR racer to the area for a breakfast and autograph appearance.

Community reaction to the group's efforts has been positive and people continue to be excited about the project, said CEM Martin.

"The Roundhouse has a lot of historical significance and people here have a lot of pride and interest in their history. It's an extraordinarily important piece of America's past," said CEM Martin.

Plans for the property include using it as a center for Civil War history, community activities and new commerce in the area.

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