The Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau has officially become the operational agent for the proposed conference center at the new Buckhannon National Guard Armory, it was announced Wednesday.
Laura Meadows, the executive director of the CVB, said a resolution was passed by Buckhannon City Council to hand control of the new facility over to the CVB. The armory and its accompanying conference center will be located on Brushy Fork Road.
"It will be another stream of revenue for us," Meadows said.
Groups are already lining up to get on the calendar for the new center, Meadows said.
"We have a lot of ongoing community events, and they want to make sure they are still on our schedule," she said.
Ground is expected to be broken for the facility some time this fall, and a completion date is slated for about 18-24 months ahead.
The National Guard Readiness Center is expected to cost about $50 million. The facility, located on 44 acres, will be about 57,000 square feet, and it will replace the old armory located on West Virginia Route 20. About 85 jobs will be kept in the Buckhannon area with the armory's relocation.
Funding for the armory was included in the Fiscal Year 2012 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriation Act.
The conference center will include a banquet facility capable of serving larger groups. Such space is limited in the Buckhannon area, forcing many groups to go outside the county to find ample and adequate space for their events.
In an effort to alleviate any potential construction delays, the Buckhannon City Council decided to hold off on annexation plans until the first phase of the project is complete. National Guard officials were concerned that requiring contractors to obtain city permits and pay Business and Occupations taxes could have a negative impact on contractors wishing to bid on the project.
The city will proceed with annexation plans after the contracts for the first phase of construction have been awarded. Contractors working on phases II and III will be subject to city permitting laws.
The city is contributing about $850,000 to the project, and the County Commission is spending about $60,000 annually to cover some of the related costs. The Upshur County Development Authority is responsible for a $1.4 million loan related to the project. The National Guard is paying 50 percent of the costs associated with the project.
Contact John Wickline by email at email@example.com.