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Jefferson Co. considers building parking facility

July 18, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Creating more downtown office space for Jefferson County's growing government operations is just one area county officials are examining as they look to the future.

County officials also have considered building a parking building downtown to meet the county's needs and create more public parking downtown, officials said Tuesday.

The county has considered acquiring property around the intersection of Liberty and Samuel streets to use as a parking building, Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Corliss said.

But parking buildings can be expensive to build, and commissioners have expressed interest in working with the City of Charles Town on such a proposal, Corliss said.

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The City of Charles Town sells permits for downtown parking, and Charles Town City Council members at their meeting Monday night discussed a shortage of permits due to growing demand.

During the meeting, Mayor Peggy Smith announced that newly elected council member Ann Paonessa would be heading a new committee to concentrate on economic development downtown.

Smith said she named Paonessa to the committee because she campaigned on the need to be sensitive to preserving the historical nature of downtown and wanted to see more redevelopment efforts in the area.

Although Paonessa said Tuesday she is just starting to examine the city's past work on the issue, she said she likes the idea of the city and county working together on parking needs.

"I think it's absolutely worth exploring," Paonessa said.

Corliss said a parking building could open up more public parking space, which would benefit downtown businesses such as restaurants.

County Commission President Frances Morgan also said she would like to see the county work with the city on parking needs.

The commission is proposing building a court annex behind the existing Jefferson County Courthouse, with an estimated cost of $10 million to $11 million.

The commissioners said the facility is needed to provide more space for growing court operations, and said new facilities need to be in place by 2009.

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