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Hearing set for old Jefferson County jail

June 03, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Local residents will get a chance at a public hearing Wednesday to offer their opinion on the future of the old Jefferson County Jail.

The public hearing is required as part of a historical review being conducted on the old jail at the corner of George and Liberty streets, county officials said.

The public hearing will be at 7 p.m. at the Charles Town Library at 200 E. Washington St.

Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Corliss, who voted against tearing down the jail, said he believes the public will be able to comment on whether they think the jail should be preserved.

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The public comments are expected to be used to help complete a final report on the jail that will be developed as part of the historical review process, Commissioner James G. Knode said. The report will evaluate the impact on the area if the jail is torn down, Knode said.

The historical review was started on the jail after Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Thomas W. Steptoe Jr. ruled in March 2003 that an injunction stopping the demolition of the building could not be lifted until the commissioners called for a historical review of the jail.

Steptoe's ruling followed efforts by a group of local residents in and out of the courts to save the jail.

DASA, a Charlottesville, Va.-based architectural firm, was chosen to complete the review.

The commissioners have considered tearing down the jail and building new county offices. Although they voted to tear down the jail, they have considered preserving it.

Commission President Al Hooper, who voted to raze the building, later came up with a plan to save it.

It is possible to have another vote on Hooper's proposal, the commissioners have said.

Jefferson County Preservation Alliance to Save Our Heritage, a group of local residents interesting in saving the jail, believe it should be preserved because of its architecture and because of a series of trials that were held in Charles Town in 1922 for miners involved in a southern West Virginia labor uprising.

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