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Berkeley County moving to sell more downtown Martinsburg properties

May 16, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission on Thursday took the first step needed to sell three properties it owns in downtown Martinsburg by unanimously declaring them to be surplus real estate.

The proceeds from the eventual sale of the county's administration building at 126 W. King St., a vacant lot off Addition Street near St. Joseph School and a parking lot along South Maple Avenue and West Stephen Street are expected to help pay for needed repairs to the county's new office building at 400 W. Stephen St., officials have said.

The sale isn't expected to happen for months because the properties still have to be surveyed, among other steps, officials said.

Though supportive of the sale, Commissioner William L. "Bill" Stubblefield on Thursday wanted assurances from fellow commissioners Ronald K. Collins and President Steven C. Teufel that circuit court records now stored in the West King Street property would be moved to a climate-controlled site.

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Stubblefield said Circuit Clerk Virginia M. Sine, the elected officer responsible for the records' care, would "object mightily" without adequate storage conditions.

Teufel said the records could be moved to the former Martin's Food Market building across from the county's new judicial center along West South Street after heating/cooling units from the current county office building are transplanted there.

The climate-control units taken from the Dunn Building are expected to be replaced with an off-site chiller system and county officials are also planning to replace the former retail shopping outlet property's roof at practically the same time.

Teufel later added that the former grocery store also is being considered as a site for a day-reporting center, which is part of an alternative sentencing initiative that officials in Jefferson and Berkeley counties hope to launch with help from a now pending grant application.

County officials expect Berkeley County Schools may very well be interested in buying the parking lot because it adjoins the school system's administrative office property.

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