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Cabinet wraps up visit

Underwood talks of new offices here

September 02, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Gov. Cecil Underwood said Thursday he is considering developing a state office center in the Eastern Panhandle to better serve residents of the area.

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Underwood, who made the comment during a special cabinet meeting at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, said the office complex would bring together all the state offices that are now scattered throughout the area.

Other offices also could be located in the building, he said.

Underwood said he brought his cabinet to the Panhandle to listen to the needs of local officials and attempt to dispel any notion that local residents are ignored by officials in Charleston.

"We don't think that in the electronic age all of the government needs to be located in Charleston," Underwood said.

There are no concrete plans for a state complex in the Eastern Panhandle, and Underwood said his office is still studying the idea.

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Underwood's decision to bring his cabinet to the area was well-received by local leaders, and the governor said he would like to do so each year.

Other developments at the meeting included:

* Bob Reintsema, commissioner of the state Bureau of Commerce, said he met with Moncure-Chatfield Taylor of Blue Ridge Outlets about the exodus of stores from the Martinsburg shopping center. Some of the discussions have revolved around putting some type of higher education system in the buildings, Reintsema said.

"He's looking for occupants. We definitely have to explore that further," Reintsema said.

* Officials discussed the importance of developing passenger flight service from Martinsburg to Charleston.

* Underwood awarded $95,000 to the Morgan County Commissioners to expand a recreational park along U.S. 522 and extend sewer to the site.

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