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Roundhouse gets additional money

July 01, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County got a small boost Thursday in its quest to raise $6 million to $14 million to renovate its historic B&O Roundhouse when it picked up another $14,600 state grant, this one to pay for gutters and downspouts.

So far the county has collected more than $800,000.

While much money still needs to be raised, that's an impressive amount in that it was collected in less than a year, said County Administrator Deborah Sheetenhelm.

"We only started on this project last August," she said.

The final cost of the restoration will depend on how much is done, Sheetenhelm said. "It depends if we do a Cadillac version or a Volkswagen version," she said.

The county will pick up another $60,000 on Saturday during Roundhouse Rail Day, a daylong festival to promote and celebrate the county's effort to restore the building that once served as a repair shop for steam locomotives in railroading's heyday.

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The $60,000, part of a state matching grant of federal money that has already been announced, will be presented to local officials Saturday by a representative from West Virginia Gov. Cecil Underwood's office, said County Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart.

The county is buying the roundhouse for $190,000. So far, $54,000 has been paid toward the purchase price, Sheetenhelm said.

About $300,000 of the $800,000 already in hand comes from federal grant programs and has some strings attached, she said. Part of that money will pay for a trolley to bring passengers to the roundhouse once the renovation is complete.

Possible uses for the building include a train museum, shopping center, recreation complex, convention center, Civil War museum and port commerce center.

Some of the $300,000 will help pay for design and some will be spent on an evaluation of the restoration project, which will be a model for similar projects around the country to be financed with federal dollars, Sheetenhelm said.

Included in the more than $800,000 acquired so far is $74,000 brought in by local fund-raisers.

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