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Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority board seeks new chair

April 02, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority board Tuesday met for the first time in more than a dozen years without longtime chairman Clarence E. “CEM” Martin III running the meeting.

Martin, who led efforts to preserve and redevelop the 19th century Baltimore & Ohio Railroad shops in Martinsburg for more than 15 years, resigned from the board last month.

Martinsburg City Councilman Roger Lewis, who was elected vice-chairman in 2011, told fellow board members at Tuesday’s meeting he intended to vacate his position after new officers are elected.

Board members did not object to Lewis’ recommendation that members Jeff Hollis, treasurer Richard Paden and newly appointed member Laura Gassler serve on a nominating committee.

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Given that he is an elected official, Lewis said his first oath is to the City of Martinsburg and indicated that it would be “cleaner” for him to serve as an ad hoc member of the board, which met at the train station in Martinsburg.

“It’s quite a thing to take on,” Lewis told members who might be considering vying to replace Martin.

Martin’s wife, Judy, who had served on the board as long her husband, also resigned last month. She was serving as board secretary. 

The couple said it was time for new people to take over the project and that they intended to travel more after already spending more time out of the area.

In his report, Paden reviewed the roundhouse authority’s finances with board members and indicated the public corporation was limited financially given that outstanding debts still must be paid off.

Using rounded financial figures, Paden said the board had about $21,000 to work with this year after subtracting about $75,000 in obligations. A lease agreement to provide storage space at the historic complex for the West Virginia National Guard is expected to generate about $96,000 this year and increase to about $116,000 in the following year, board members said.

Going forward, Paden said the board needs to keep enough money in the roundhouse authority’s operating account for the bathroom project, which officials hope will spur efforts to redevelop the property and generate additional revenue.

Architect Matthew Grove later told board members that the project could not be put out to bid in February as planned because officials with the state Department of Transportation and Division of Culture and History had yet to sign off on plans to install restrooms at the industrial site.

The state review and approval is required because the project is being made possible through grant funding that the roundhouse authority received, according to Grove.
 

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