County, city announce Armory deal

ELKINS – The Randolph County Commission and Elkins City Council announced Thursday that a deal had been reached to purchase the former Elkins National Guard Armory.

Randolph County Commissioner Mike Taylor said the purchase price will be $200,000, with the cost being split equally between the city and county.

Attorneys for the county and city are preparing the deed and other legal paperwork. Taylor said the Commission likely will sign the documents at their next regular meeting on Aug. 7.

“We have been working about two and a half years, the Commission along with the city of Elkins and the Development Authority and other entities in the community toward the purchase of the old National Guard Armory,” Taylor said. “I know that the prosecutor has been working on this with the city attorney. I think we are real close to having the legal paperwork drawn up, and at the next meeting we can formally authorize and sign the papers.”

Included in the deal is the main Armory building, which is about 20,000 square feet, 8 acres of land and several utility buildings.

Some minor work, Taylor said, will need to be done before the building becomes available for use and rent. For the most part, though, the 40-year-old building is in good repair.

“There are some minor modifications, such as the restroom facilities. In the short term, the restroom facilities probably need a good cleaning inside. It’s not been occupied for awhile,” Taylor said.

As for the management of the building, officials will be working to establish a board to manage the facility.

“It is our intention and our goal to appoint a board, if you will, much like the Airport Authority, much like the Recreation Board or the Ambulance Authority to govern and oversee the operations of the Armory,” Taylor noted.

Several outside entities already have expressed interest in utilizing the building to some degree. The Mountain State Forest Festival has presented the County Commission with a letter of intent that they want to be an intricate part of the facility, possibly even a lessee, Taylor said.

“There is just a lot of tremendous possibilities for that acreage and for that building, and I think it’s a good time for Randolph County,” Taylor said.

“I think it is a tremendous asset for the people of the community, of the county.”

At Thursday evening’s Elkins City Council meeting, the agenda included an item listed as “Resolution 625: Joint purchase of Elkins National Guard Armory by City of Elkins and Randolph County. First of two readings.”

However, when the meeting reached that point in the agenda, Council went into executive session for what Mayor Van Broughton termed a “real estate matter.” After 45 minutes, Council returned from executive session, with Broughton announcing “no action was taken.”

No vote was taken and the resolution was not mentioned again during Thursday’s meeting.

After the Council meeting, Broughton told The Inter-Mountain the resolution had “been pushed back.”

“No decision has yet been made. We’re still talking and gathering all the information together.

“We’re just not quite ready yet to vote on the resolution,” Broughton said.

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.

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.

In January 2013, a feasibility study, initiated by the RCDA, was presented to local agencies to provide information on the costs of maintaining and upgrading the building.