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Condition of Queen Street building concerns council

August 15, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Buildings along Queen Street in Martinsburg generally fall into one of two categories - nice and not-so-nice.

The one at 124 N. Queen St. falls into the latter.

Frustrated with the situation, Martinsburg City Council members asked the building's owner to appear at their meeting Thursday night.

Co-owner Harold Earehart told council members he bought the building more than two years ago with a business partner. Since then, he said, his partner, whom he did not name, has had financial problems.

Earehart said he is trying to buy out his partner's share and received a contract Monday. Problems have arisen because his partner's financial problems have caused several liens to be placed on the building, he said.

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Earehart told council members that the building was appraised for $62,000. He said he was not sure of the total liens.

"Nothing would make me happier than fixing it," Earehart said, adding he is not happy to own one of two "eyesores" in the block.

A small brick building, it has one front door and a large display window. The glass in both is covered with brown paper.

Earehart said he wants to replace the windows and do some brick work. He said he is trying to find out whether he, as an unlicensed contractor, can do projects on the building that will cost less than $1,000.

Councilman Max Parkinson said after the meeting that he understands the problems Earehart faces, but said city officials must be fair in regard to dilapidated buildings.

Council members asked Earehart to provide a written letter outlining his situation. They did not say what action, if any, he could face should the building remain in its present state.

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