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Visitors center moves to cedar-sided chalet

October 01, 2009|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

BOLIVAR, W.Va. -- After serving for seven years as the Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, a small trailer that sat off U.S. 340 that bureau officials said created a poor image for West Virginia, will be hauled away in a few days, the head of the agency said Tuesday.

Paulette Sprinkle, executive director of the CVB, said the bureau last month realized a long-held dream when it moved into a two-story cedar log building behind the trailer on Washington Court. 

"We're just thrilled with the move," Sprinkle said. "That trailer was the worst possible image for West Virginia."

The bureau bought the cedar-sided chalet from Vickie Drumheller for $90,000, Sprinkle said. The agency had accumulated about $60,000 from grants and other sources over the years. The Jefferson County Commission put up the $30,000 needed to make the purchase, Sprinkle said.

The property settlement was completed Sept. 15.

Renovations included a second restroom, storage space and some new windows. 


The extra space will enable the welcome center to put up bigger displays that promote the area, including the Washington Heritage Trail and large framed prints of area attractions.

An open house and ribbon cutting with West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is set for Oct. 14 at 4:30 p.m.

Until 2002, the CVB ran its visitors center on the first floor of the chalet through a lease with Drumheller, while she ran her business from the second floor. The building served as Drumheller's model home.

The CVB moved into the trailer when Drumheller was ordered to move her building because it was sitting on West Virginia Division of Highway land. The case ended up in Jefferson County Circuit Court where a judge ordered Drumheller to comply with the highway department's order.

The CVB has an arrangement with the state to leave the building where it is.

The move to the chalet is especially welcome by CVB officials this year, the start of a major celebration of the Civil War beginning with the 150th anniversary of abolitionist John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. Thousands of tourists and historians are expected to descend on the Harpers Ferry area in the next few weeks.

The CVB, a private, nonprofit agency, was created in 1988 to promote the area by a group of local hotel, inn and restaurant owners. Its annual budget, around $250,000, comes from hotel/motel taxes.



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