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Jefferson Co. officials look for ways to get pool project done

August 03, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Commission continued Thursday to discuss how to proceed on an indoor pool project and a new court facility downtown that together could cost about $14 million.

The timing of the projects came into question earlier this week when the commissioners determined how to adjust their recently-approved budget that was about $2 million too high.

To help lower the budget, the commissioners on Monday agreed to reduce the amount they put into a capital savings account by about $1.3 million.

Because the account is used to fund new facilities, it could hurt plans for a proposed $3 million indoor pool at Sam Michaels Park north of town and a proposed judicial center downtown that would cost $10 million to $11 million, Commissioner Dale Manuel said Monday.

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Commissioner Greg Corliss agreed that the pool project could be slowed, but he said the judicial annex cannot be delayed because population growth is demanding more court space.

Corliss brought up the issue again during the commission's regular meeting Thursday and suggested that Kirk E. Davis Sr., capital projects manager for the county, talk to the commission to explore the building projects further.

"Maybe we can do both, and maybe we can refocus," Corliss said.

Manuel said it is time to get in a "cooperative mode" on the indoor pool and suggested that towns in the county and the Jefferson County Schools help on the project.

Once drawings for the indoor pool are completed, other entities might be more willing to "open that wallet," Manuel said.

Regarding more court space downtown, Corliss said county officials had talked to Berkeley County Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes about when new facilities would be needed.

Wilkes said new facilities should be in place by 2009, Corliss said.

Perhaps county officials can talk to court officials about moving that date to 2010, Corliss said.

The commissioners have talked in the past about the need to build an indoor pool to meet recreational needs in the county.

County residents who responded to a survey about parks and recreation facilities in Jefferson County said another swimming pool was a priority for them, county officials have said.

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