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Former vending machine plant now a civic center in Ranson

August 17, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

RANSON, W.Va. - If everything goes as planned, a former manufacturing building eventually will be a spot for music concerts and sporting events.

"We have great plans for the future," Ranson Mayor David Hamill said Tuesday of the Ranson Civic Center at the end of Second Avenue.

The seeds for the civic center were planted when the Dixie-Narco vending machine plant closed its operations.

Hundreds of people once worked at Dixie-Narco, which had its operations spread out in several buildings in the Second Street area.

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When the company left town, it donated the building at the end of Second Street to the City of Ranson, Hamill said.

Hamill said some final deed search work needs to be done to the building, but basically it now belongs to the town.

A sign outside the building proclaims it as the Ranson Civic Center.

Hamill said the city has been using it for three or four years for a variety of community needs and events.

The city allowed Jefferson High School's baseball team to set up a batting cage in the building and the Ranson Spring Festival - which featured craft exhibitors and dance performances - was held in the building in May, Hamill said.

The city also allowed Independent Fire Co. to store equipment in the building while the fire department was making improvements to its building.

Over the past weekend, the civic center was used as the headquarters for the 30th annual West Virginia EMS/Firefighter competition, where at least 160 firefighters and their families came to compete in rescue competitions.

The civic center was used for registration, a cookout and a place for fire equipment providers to set up vending areas, said Ed Smith, chief of Independent Fire Co.

"It was nice that we could do everything in one location," said Smith, adding that the building is equipped with bathrooms, good lighting and ceiling fans.

Although Hamill said he could not offer specifics on how future improvements will be made to the building, he said the city plans to use the civic center as a place to have indoor music concerts and sporting events, said Hamill.

The building is basically ready for those type of events now, but the move has not been made to arrange those events, Hamill said.

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