Mayor provides armory update

By Brad Johnson

Managing Editor

ELKINS – Mayor Van Broughton provided an update on the effort to purchase the former Elkins National Guard Armory during Thursday’s Elkins City Council meeting.

“They are doing an environmental study on the building,” Broughton told council members. “The first of the year they should be getting back to us.”

City Treasurer Lisa Daniels-Smith said she, Broughton and Randolph County Commissioner Mike Taylor planned to meet Dec. 4 about the situation.

In July, Taylor said a group of Randolph County agencies and associations had made an offer to purchase the former Armory.

“We sent them a letter of intent,” Taylor said July 3. “They set a price and we felt we could afford it. Now we’re waiting to hear back from them.” Taylor said he could not publicly discuss the price during the negotiation process.

The County Commission and Elkins City Council have been working with the Randolph County Development Authority and the Mountain State Forest Festival board of directors to obtain the former Armory for use as a community building.

Should the offer be accepted, both the County Commission and City Council will have to vote before the deal can go through, Taylor said.

Construction of the new $15.5 million Armed Forces Reserve Center, located just off Corridor H near Belington, has made the old Armory obsolete.

The former Armory is located on 8 acres near Elkins Middle School and is approximately 20,000 square feet.

Also during Thursday’s meeting:

– Council voted to postpone discussion on a proposed ordinance that would ban the use of engine compression brakes – also known as “jake brakes” – within city limits. Councilmembers have said they frequently field complaints from residents about the noise from trucks that use the brakes.

“In light of some of the restraints the state Division of Highways has made us aware of, we’re looking at Fairmont’s ordinance,” Councilwoman Nanci Bross-Fregonara said Thursday.

The agenda packet for Thursday’s meeting included a letter sent to the city from the DOH in 2008. The letter states, “The Jacobs Engine Brake (commonly referred to as “jake brakes”) manufactured by Jacobs Vehicle Systems, is a safety feature intended to control a truck’s speed and because of that safety function, the DOH discourages prohibitions of their use on public roads.”

– Operations manager Bob Pingley talked about the city’s recent major water leak in his operations report, which was submitted in print form.

“The water leak on Nov. 10 on Worth Avenue near the river was on a 12-inch main; our best estimate is that we lost close to 2 million gallons of water,” Pingley wrote. “That is essentially a full day’s production at the plant. That is also what prompted the system-wide boil-water notice.”

– The city has received a $20,950 Recycling Assistance Grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection. The grant will be used to assist with the recycling service collection, conference attendance and to purchase indoor/outdoor recycling containers, bags and educational and advertising materials.