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Berkeley County briefs

February 04, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

County building to be auctioned

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An auction will be held at 1 p.m. Feb. 13 to sell a county-owned building on Spring Street that the Berkeley County Board of Education backed away from purchasing.

Tours of the property will be available Thursday from noon to 2 p.m., Commissioner Ronald K. Collins said.

Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon and board of education members toured the property in December, and Arvon said then they were "very impressed" with the property

Collins said Thursday that the school board indicated to him they now are not interested in purchasing the building.

Collins said proceeds from the sale would pay off the county's $292,000 debt on the property, and any additional money would be earmarked for retiring the county's payments on the new government complex off South Raleigh, West Stephen and South streets.

In an auction last year, the property failed to meet a minimum asking price and county leaders pulled it from the sale.


Arvon did not immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment.

'Pickin' in the Panhandle' expands

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - "Pickin' in the Panhandle," the West Virginia State BBQ & Bluegrass Festival, officially has been sanctioned and expanded to a two-day festival for 2008, according to the executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The official state sanctioning allows the festival's barbecue competition winners to be eligible for national competition, Andrea Ball told the Berkeley County Commission on Thursday.

"We've had significant interest in the barbecue competition," said Ball, who indicated that 20 entries have registered for the event to be held Sept. 6 and 7 at the Lazy A Campground.

Though not sanctioned last year, the one-day festival held in September in Back Creek Valley attracted more than 3,000 people.

Information about the festival is available at

Boydville's fate still unknown

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The fate of Boydville, one of Martinsburg's most notable historic properties, still is an item of discussion among members of the Berkeley County Farmland Protection Board, Berkeley County Commissioner William L. Stubblefield told fellow commissioners Thursday.

"(I'm) not sure what the next step is," said Stubblefield, who represents the commission at the farmland board's meetings.

Stubblefield said the board might meet with City of Martinsburg officials about the property, which city leaders had declined to take ownership of last year because of anticipated maintenance expenses and liability.

The 13-acre property at 601 S. Queen St. includes a circa-1812 mansion and outbuildings. The area around the home is expected to be protected from development through a conservation easement when the Berkeley County Farmland Protection Board can transfer ownership.

The farmland board had planned to sell the property for at least $1.5 million through an auction or a request for proposals.

Stubblefield said Thursday that another request for proposals might be in the works.

If the property had sold for $1.5 million, the city would have recouped $500,000 of the $750,000 it allocated in 2005 to effectively stop a townhouse development planned for the Boydville property.

With the city's help, the Berkeley County Farmland Protection Board purchased the property for $2.25 million.

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