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Underwood delivers Panhandle grants

November 16, 1999

By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

Photo by JOE CROCETTA / Staff Photographer


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - W.Va. Gov. Cecil H. Underwood came to the Eastern Panhandle Tuesday to dole out money, including $260,000 in grants for the B&O roundhouse in Martinsburg.

Underwood touted what he called "The cultural and economic impact of this project," Tuesday afternoon at the Gaston Caperton Intermodal Transportation Center next to the roundhouse in downtown Martinsburg.

The money will be used to weatherproof the roundhouse facilities and repair its roof and windows, said Clarence E. Martin III, chairman of the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority. Some work has already begun to improve the buildings structurally.

So far the authority has raised more than $1 million in grants, Martin said. Official fund-raising won't begin until a use and business plan is completed, which is expected in February or March, he said.

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The plan to restore the roundhouse buildings, built between 1866 and 1871, includes a performing arts center, Martin said. The buildings could pay for their own renovations if they are used to house conventions and trade shows, a committee has reported.

Earlier this year the roundhouse was placed on a "millennium list" of 100 significantly historic sites, compiled by the White House, enabling the authority to use the title to help raise private and federal funds for the renovation project, Martin said.

A groundbreaking ceremony was rescheduled for spring, he said.

The grants were a $200,000 Local Economic Development Assistance grant and a $60,000 grant from the Governor's Contingent Fund. The fund allows the governor to distribute funding at his discretion for emergencies, basic facilities or projects that could not be funded through other sources, according to the governor's office.

According to the governor's office and Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, the funding announced Tuesday was:

- $55,000 for security gates, books, landscaping and equipment at Musselman Middle School. The former Musselman High School was renovated, expanded and reopened this school year as a middle school.

- $50,000 in a Local Economic Development Assistance Grant to redesign the Berkeley County Office of Emergency Services' hazardous materials response unit. The changes will enable the unit to accommodate special equipment.

- $50,000 in an Industrial Park Assistance Program grant to the Jefferson County Development Authority to help with improvements and nonsalary operating expenses at the Jefferson County Telecenter in Ranson, W.Va.

- $30,000 to buy equipment for the expansion of a children's daycare center in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

- $25,000 for general improvements at Poorhouse Farm Park.

- $20,000 to buy a mobile fire safety house for education programs for children and senior citizens in the Eastern Panhandle. The current safety house is stationary.

- $20,000 to equip Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services ambulances with defibrillators.

- $15,000 to build a football field for the midget football league at Poorhouse Farm Park.

- $15,000 to buy and install a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the renovated Shepherdstown Depot, which will become a health facility and community center.

- $15,000 for general improvements at the community center in Bolivar, W.Va.

- $10,000 to the Berkeley County Commission to provide community-based substance abuse prevention services.

- $9,000 to help restore Fisherman's Hall community center in Charles Town, W.Va.

- $7,000 for the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority to buy a second camera for Operation Groundhog, an effort by law enforcement officials to fight littering and illegal dumping. The cameras, which are motion and night sensitive, can be placed in a tree.

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