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Martinsburg votes not to fund Roundhouse

July 20, 2000

Martinsburg votes not to fund Roundhouse



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The City Council on Thursday approved a carefully-worded resolution that supports the restoration of the B&O Roundhouse but states that the city has no plans to fund it.

The resolution, which passed 6-1 after two amendments were made, says that the City Council recognizes the complex's "historic significance" and states that its renovation "would be an asset to the revitalization of downtown Martinsburg."

Before the council voted, Councilman Donald Anderson called for one word to be added and another word to be changed.

One section of the proposed resolution had said that the City Council "has and will continue to provide in-kind services towards the efforts to promote and renovate the B&O Roundhouse complex."

At Anderson's request, the word "only" was inserted between "services" and "toward."

Anderson also asked that in another section - which read "...The Martinsburg City Council supports the Roundhouse Authority in their efforts...." - the word "supports" be switched to "applauds."

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Anderson said the amendments were important to get the entire City Council to agree to the resolution. He said that he did not hear any city voter in the last election insist that candidates support the Roundhouse project.

He noted that two years ago the council was asked to purchase the Roundhouse property and refused.

Councilman Glenville Twigg agreed that the council should "protect" city residents from having to foot the costs of a multi-million-dollar project.

The city would not contribute more than about $25,000 to the project, an insignificant amount, he said.

Councilman Christopher Baker cast the lone dissenting vote. He said that he and many voters he talked to are in favor of restoring the Roundhouse.

Baker objected to the watered-down resolution. "It sends a bad message," he said.

Roundhouse Authority Vice Chairman Gordon Claucherty told the council that the resolution will help the authority get grants.

John Reisenweber, another member of the authority, said it is "critical" for a grant-giving organization to see that the City Council supports a project within its boundaries.

The authority has secured about $2.2 million in funding so far.

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