Buckhannon stretching boarders west

The Upshur County Commission voted unanimously to allow the City of Buckhannon to stretch its borders further west, taking in the property where the new West Virginia Army National Guard Armory Readiness Center is being constructed.

Other property included in the new corporate limits will include some owned by the Upshur County Economic Development Authority and the county commission-controlled Upshur Wellness Center.

The annexation will allow the city to collect a 2 percent Business and Occupations tax on contractors doing the Phase II and Phase III portions of the center’s construction. That money will be use to pay back most of the nearly $750,000 of debt the city has incurred with its contribution to an adjoining conference center and the city’s Water Department spending about $250,000 to construct a 12-inch water line to the property.

The B&O tax would also be applicable to any future development at the Wellness Center.

It will also allow the city to collect other taxes associated with the use of the conference center, which the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau will be operating. The National Guard will also pay $66 annually to both the police and fire service fees.

The annexation does not take in any private businesses or homeowners.

City treasurer Michael Doss said there are long-term city plans to extend the walking trail from the city to include the newly annexed property in Brushy Fork.

Federal, state and local leaders joined together Oct. 25 to break ground for the new West Virginia National Guard Armory and Readiness Center, just off U.S. Route 33 on Brushy Fork Road. They believe the $13.15 million center will allow for future economic growth in the area.

Officials believe it will take about 24 months to complete the project. The new center will replace the current one along West Virginia Route 20. It will be home to the 601st Engineering Co., the 1935th Contracting Team and the 229th Engineering Detachment.

Officials came together about five years ago to discuss the project when it was learned that the Buckhannon community could lose its armory and the accompanying jobs.

The Upshur County Commission purchased the land and arranged for other financial obligations to be met in an effort to push the project forward.

Omni Architects Associates is designing the new center, and the construction project was awarded to Paramount Builders, a St. Albans company.

Phase II of the project will be completed when the funding is appropriated by Congress.

Contact John Wickline by email at jwickline@theintermountain.com.