Commission to meet on Armory plan

ELKINS – The Randolph County Commission plans to meet in the coming days to discuss how best to proceed regarding the proposed purchase of the former Elkins National Guard Armory.

Elkins City Council approved on its first reading Thursday an ordinance allowing the city and the County Commission to buy the former Armory.

“The County Commission will meet in the near future to discuss the situation,” Commissioner Mike Taylor told The Inter-Mountain Friday. “Chris (See), Joyce (Johns) and I are going to sit down and have some further discussion regarding the proposed purchase of the Armory. We want to explore the project further and decide our best course of action.”

The purchase price will be $200,000, with the cost being split equally between the city and county.

The ordinance must still be passed on its second reading – at Elkins City Council’s Aug. 21 meeting – for the purchase deal to move forward.

“Council has to pass their ordinance in two readings,” Taylor noted. “As the Commission, we have to do it by resolution, and it would just take one vote to pass it.

“I think the cards are on the table. We’ll just have to see how it goes from here.”

Taylor announced the Armory purchase plan at the July 17 Commission meeting. He said the deal would include the main Armory building, which is about 20,000 square feet, 8 acres of land near Elkins Middle School and several utility buildings.

Numerous outside entities have expressed interest in utilizing the building. 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.

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.

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.