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Bank agrees to cut Berkeley Co. Roundhouse Authority debt

October 07, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority last week approved a $150,000 settlement with BB&T Bank that effectively cut the debt that had been owed to the bank in half, said Clarence E. “CEM” Martin III, chairman of the roundhouse authority board.

The nonprofit public corporation charged with restoring and redeveloping the historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad roundhouse and maintenance shop complex in Martinsburg is expected to make annual $50,000 payments over three years to the bank, beginning Jan. 31, 2013.

The settlement was made possible after the authority reached a commercial lease agreement with the West Virginia National Guard to lease one of the buildings at the 13.6-acre industrial complex that is projected to be worth more than $500,000 over five years.

“BB&T was very good to us,” Martin said Thursday of the settlement.

With the agreement in place, Martin said the authority now will work on reaching a repayment agreement with a contractor that is owed about $100,000.

“It’s amazing what a little (revenue) can do,” Martin said.

The authority’s move to settle old debts coincides with an ongoing effort to make good on its agreement with the National Guard and build a restroom addition at the complex.

An advertisement soliciting bids from contractors for the restroom project for the roundhouse and frog and switch shop buildings could be placed in about two months, Martin said.

A separate two-story addition planned for the bridge and machine building, which is being leased by the National Guard for long-term storage, is to include elevator service and restrooms for both floors, Martin said.

Under the lease terms with the National Guard, community use of the cast-iron frame roundhouse and the frog and switch building will be maintained.

Apple Harvest events
For the first time this year, many of the events that are part of the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival will be staged in the two buildings at the roundhouse complex, including the event’s arts and crafts show.

More than 100 vendors have registered to take part in the show, which will be Oct. 20 and 21, said Randy Lewis, chairman of the festival’s Arts and Crafts Committee.

Several food vendors have registered to be part of the show, and there will be live entertainment, and blacksmith and apple butter-making demonstrations, Lewis said. Admission is $3 for adults and children older than 6.

The main entrance to the roundhouse complex is at the train station off East Martin Street, but handicapped parking will be available on site, Lewis said.

In addition to the arts and crafts show, other activities that previously had been held at the Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds, including apple eating, peeling and baby apple seed contests, also will be held at the roundhouse complex, Lewis said.

“It’s wonderful this year because (practically) everything is being held downtown,” said Lewis, who also serves as executive director of Main Street Martinsburg.

Having organizers of the festival stage events at the roundhouse complex is “huge for us,” Martin said of the public exposure that the complex will receive.

For a complete schedule of Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival events, go to http://msahf.com.

For tour information about the roundhouse complex, go to www.martinsburgroundhouse.com.

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