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Veteran tourism promoter named executive director of the Martinsburg Roundhouse Center

February 01, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Rosetta Chiofalo worked for three Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention & Visitors Bureau executive directors before venturing on to other opportunities in the Shenandoah Valley's tourism industry.

"I stayed, they kept moving," said Chiofalo, who is returning to the valley's "Gateway City" to be executive director of the Martinsburg Roundhouse Center, a cluster of historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad buildings crowned by a 16-sided structure considered the last of its kind in the nation - the roundhouse itself.

"I just think if you got something - flaunt it," Chiofalo said Tuesday after Clarence "CEM" Martin III, chairman of the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority, confirmed the 60-year-old Long Island, N.Y., native had been hired. She replaces C. William "Bill" Hayes, who retired.

"If everybody else around us is doing it, then why can't we ... and no one else has the roundhouse," said Chiofalo (pronounced key-off-a-lo).

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With about 10 years of experience in the tourism industry, including stints with the Shenandoah Valley Travel Association in New Market, Va., and the Shenandoah Valley Travel Guide in Lexington, Va., Chiofalo said she jumped at the opportunity to move roundhouse center projects forward and accepted less money to take the position.

"I have a real affinity for building Martinsburg and Berkeley County up to a real tourism destination," said Chiofalo, who resides in Morgan County near Hedgesville, W.Va. "I don't do it for the money."

Chiofalo's arrival comes as officials prepare to install a pedestrian bridge over the Capitol Limited rail line from the Caperton Train Station to the historic complex.

Martinsburg Water Department crews have completed about 75 percent of the installation of waterline and hydrants to the site, City Manager Mark Baldwin said Tuesday. A complementing sewer project is expected to be advertised this year, but Martin said Tuesday about $8 million is needed to complete additional work, including bathrooms, flooring, and heating and cooling.

Chiofalo expects the bridge to be installed soon and believes the connection will help spur reuse of the complex, which survived the first days of the Great Railway Strike of 1877, a pivotal episode in American labor history, according to historical accounts.

"I see a need for people to realize what they've got in this area," Chiofalo said of the site's historic significance.

Martin said Hayes' stint with the roundhouse authority was extraordinary, and fellow members of the Berkeley County Commission-appointed panel were pleased that Chiofalo accepted the position.

"We expect her to take up where (Hayes) left off," Martin said. "He was truly a wonderful executive director."

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