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Martinsburg council OKs funds for Boydville wine fest

February 10, 2006|by ROBERT SNYDER

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg's historic Boydville property may not have seen its last wine festival following a vote Thursday by the City Council to provide funding for the annual summer event.

The council voted on a motion by Councilman-at-large Donald Anderson to allocate $500 to the Arts Centre to keep the yearly summer Wine and Arts Festival at the 13-acre south Martinsburg property.

The council's vote appeared to be an effort by members to cement the event to Boydville after the location for the summer festival had been left hanging following the failure of Arts Centre officials to reach an agreement with the Berkeley County Farmland Preservation Board during a meeting last month.

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Other sites had been considered for the event because of uncertainty over Boydville, Arts Centre President Hannah Geffert said following the council meeting.

"When we were first starting to plan for this year, Boydville was up in the air," said Geffert, adding the appearance by arts members before the council was to clear up confusion that had arisen with city officials over proposed alternate sites.

Geffert said Boydville has always been board members' preferred location for the event.

The festival, which this year will be renamed the Wine and Jazz Festival, is sponsored by the Arts Centre and has been held on Boydville's grounds for almost 10 years, Donnie Pomeroy, the group's executive director, said last week.

Pomeroy told council members that farmland officials were asking $3,000 to hold the event at the property this year, and were told that there was no guarantee the property's grounds would be maintained ahead of the event.

Pomeroy said she understood the cost to hold the event there in the past had been as a result of loss of business when the property was operated as a bed and breakfast by former owner LaRue Frye.

"It's no longer a bed and breakfast so we're not costing anybody business," Pomeroy said.

But farmland board member Eric Goff, who joined Arts Centre board members at the podium, said the farmland board had agreed at a meeting last month to charge $2,500 for the event after seeing a contract from 2005 between the center and Frye. Goff also said the grounds would be prepared for the festival.

The farmland preservation board purchased Boydville last year with the help of the City Council for $2.25 million to prevent the property from being subdivided by a Virginia development company.

In an interview last week, farmland board Executive Director Lavonne Paden said the figure the board arrived at was to help offset costs to prepare the property for events.

"I think the thinking was that there was a bit of work to get it in shape to hold it there," Paden said last week.

Paden said the farmland board voted at a recent meeting not to allocate transfer tax funding on maintenance and improvements for the property.

"The property has to be self-sustaining," she said.

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