BUCKHANNON – Upshur County Commissioners on Thursday announced they have made a significant investment in the county’s future with the purchase of 10 parcels of land that line Chancery Street.
According to records in the Upshur County Clerk’s Office, the commission acquired the 10 parcels of land along Chancery Street for $400,000 from grantor Gary W. Evans via a deed executed Dec. 19, 2022.
At its last meeting of 2022, commissioners announced negotiations with the property owner had concluded but said they would not release more information until a formal signing of the purchase agreement had occurred.
At Thursday’s meeting, they were prepared to release more details.
“As everyone’s aware, we recently did finish the property acquisition for a piece of land that we have been in discussions about since April 2021,” Upshur County Commission President Kristie Tenney said.
Tenney asked commissioners Sam Nolte and Doug Bush to share more information about the acquisition which has been under wraps while the purchase was negotiated.
“We’ve worked with Mr. Gary Evans and his family on acquiring 10 parcels of land down Chancery Street, which will be really beneficial to the county because it gives us the opportunity to make our footprint a little bit bigger and gives us options going down the road if there was ever any expansion,” Nolte said.
Chancery Street is the alley that runs between the Upshur County Courthouse and Courthouse Annex.
“There’s always an additional need for parking for employees of the commission, the judicial staff and the citizens who come to the courthouse now, so we feel that this is a big benefit to the county going forward,” Nolte added. “We definitely appreciate Mr. Evans working with the county. I really felt that he wanted us to have this property because it really made sense for Upshur County.”
Commissioner Doug Bush also expressed his gratitude to the Evans family.
“I’ve known them for a long, long time, and they’re all about Upshur County, and this is a good example of their commitment to Upshur County,” Bush said. “I think this commission has a responsibility to plan for the future and I think [acquiring] this property is a big step toward planning for the future.”
“I think Kristie did a lot of work behind the scenes to kind of bring this together and Sam as well, but Tabatha [Perry, county administrator] and everybody was involved, so it was a team effort,” Bush added.
Tenney said the Evans family wants to make a public statement at the commission’s Jan. 12 meeting.
“This property has been in their family for 100 years, I believe – three generations – so this is a huge gift that they decided to come together, and we will have that statement in the packet for next Thursday,” she said. “Thank you to our office for their hard work on this. It was a lengthy process, and they worked diligently to make this happen.”
Upshur County Administrator Tabatha Perry said funds for the purchase were taken from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funding line item in the county’s general fund budget. All of the structures that dot the alley – with the exception of Ralston Press – are included in the acquisition.
“As far as immediate needs, some razing of the buildings needs to take place, but there has not been conversation about new construction yet,” Perry said.