Funds approved for convention center

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved a $765,000 loan for the West Virginia Army National Guard Armory and Convention Center project on Brushy Fork Road during a Building Commission meeting that preceded Thursday’s Buckhannon City Council.

Paula Moeller with USDA Rural Development said that legal fees make up $15,000 of the total cost. Equipment at the conference center accounts for $200,000. Materials to extend the water line will account for $150,000. The remaining $400,000 will be invoiced by the state.

Moeller said the 30-year loan term has a fixed 3.125 percent interest rate. The monthly payments are $3,351. The funds were borrowed through the Building Commission for the City of Buckhannon.

– Also during the meeting, Street Commissioner Jerry Arnold told council members that he is seeking a new way to deter littering and other problems taking place at the Crossroads recycling center located at a corner of the Wal-Mart parking lot.

He believes installing cameras will help. Arnold said the waste board members met and approved $122,500 for signs, cameras and reconditioning of the recycling bins at Crossroads. The bins will be repainted and will explain which materials can be accepted. This is to deter contamination of the bins.

Not all plastics can be recycled together. When someone places the wrong type of plastic container in the bin, it contaminates the entire bin of recyclable plastic. The signs will use red and green dots, for “stop” and “go,” as an easy way that individuals can determine what is accepted.

Some who intend to recycle leave their items outside of the bin where they can be carried in the wind as litter. Arnold hopes the cameras will prevent that, and that the signs will eliminate confusion about what goes where.

– In other news, Fire Chief Mitch Tacy announced that the elimination dinner, a fund-raising event for the Buckhannon Fire Department, will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Moose Lodge. Guests can come at 6:30 p.m. to socialize. Tickets are $20 per person.

Tacy said it is financially demanding to equip a firefighter with each fireman’s necessities costing about $10,000. Tacy said the fund-raiser would help cover those costs.

– The city council also approved the dates for this year’s Classic Wheels Car Club event. Although the dates of July 26 and July 27 are set, council did not approve or deny the closure of certain roads downtown to be used during the event. Davidson said he would check with the merchants to see what effects it would have on their business.

He said the number of streets being requested are more than what are usually closed during the Strawberry Festival. The request was to shut down Main Street, Kanawha Street and Spring Street for the two evenings.

– Speaking on behalf of the Upshur County Senior Center, Allan Cook, the director, requested that city council consider contributing funds to the Senior Center for transportation programs, because budget cuts could affect some programs. Cook said that the Senior Center staff would like to maintain its transportation policies and programs. He said the staff has had to look at the “saddened probability of cutting programs,” including making cuts in the transportation services.

“Hunger and isolation are two main foes,” Cook said, adding that a large number of the senior population is often hungry and isolated.

About 200 senior citizens are fed daily with the help of the transportation system. Cook said the Upshur County Senior Center will experience a 7.5 percent state funding cut and an 8.5 percent federal funding cut.