BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission agreed to give the owners of the former Holly Apartments property 60 more days to remove the debris left after razing the building.
The Holly Apartments were considered a total loss after a fire spread throughout the entire now-dilapidated building in May 2021. The deed to the property was transferred to the Randall Hughes Ministry in January 2023. The Upshur County Commission invited representatives from the Randall Hughes Ministries to update them on the project during their July 13 meeting after their last extension on the project expired in June.
A representative from the Randall Hughes Ministry, Linda Hughes, thanked the commission for their patience and for the extensions they previously granted.
“We now are moving the debris out of the property; we’re taking it to the dumps as we speak,” Hughes said. “Prior to this, the reason we had so many delays was because we were unfamiliar with everything we needed to get done to start the project, and then our contractor had several breakdowns on his trucks, but everything’s under control, and we’re moving the debris as we speak.”
Hughes said the project’s completion date is also dependent on the weather, but they hope to move forward soon.
“We hope to get the cleanup done as soon as possible; if it rains, we have to pay more for weight and that was a project we didn’t anticipate being so costly,” Hughes said. “The church’s funds are very limited, but we have enough money to get the debris removed, and then we’re going to start doing construction on the project as soon as possible.”
Upshur County Commissioner Sam Nolte asked if the ministry planned to keep the foundation of the building.
“We plan to leave the foundation,” Hughes said. “Our temporary plan is to make a pavilion similar to the one in the Lewis County Park that has the kitchen and then place picnic tables. It’s not set in stone, but that’s what we think we’re going to do.”
The ministry hopes to expand the property into a community center space in the long term.
“Eventually, as the church gets the money, we would like to make a community center,” Hughes said. “There’s a stream between the property, and there’s a little island, so we hope to develop that and make a little bridge across and allow the community to use it for whatever they want.”
Nolte asked Hughes how much longer it would take to remove the debris and finish the cleanup of the property.
“It depends on many things,” she answered. “It depends on the weather because we’re dependent on our contractors, but our hope is to get it done by the end of August. We want to be done long before that, but it’s dependent on many factors.”
Nolte and Upshur County Commissioner Doug Bush agreed to give the ministry another 60-day extension to finish the cleanup of the property.
“We wanted to do something positive for the community, and all the parks around this area are huge, so this would be a little park for families to have picnics,” Hughes said. “There’s so many children in the area, and this [could be] a place for them to spend some time and maybe we can put up some basketball hoops or something in the future.”
Randall Hughes Ministry is housed in the Tom Anderson Mission Center, located on the Abbott Road.
In other Upshur County Commission news:
- The commission approved a Request for Qualifications from professionally qualified engineering consulting firms to develop a plan to supply and install a dump station at the James W. Curry Park located in French Creek to serve the existing 18 campsites and allow for the construction of a future bathhouse. Proposals must be received by the Commission no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. All Proposals will be opened, reviewed and evaluated by the Upshur County Commission at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.
- The commission approved a Modification of Note between the Upshur County Commission, Buckhannon Upshur Airport Authority and Citizens Bank. The outstanding principal balance as of July 13, 2023 is $17,054.85. The interest rate is changed from 3.95% to 5.50%, monthly payment is changing from $1506.00 to $1463.93 and the maturity date will be extended from July 14, 2023 to July 14, 2024.
- The commission approved and signed the Outlay Report and Request for Reimbursement for Construction Programs (Request #1 – FINAL) from the Federal Aviation Administration for the construction of two hangers, on behalf of the Buckhannon Upshur Airport Authority, in the amount of $150,000.
- The commission approved the advertisement for a part-time position of Home Incarceration Supervisor. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Monday, July 24, 2023.
- The commission approved the advertisement for a full-time Deputy Clerk in the Circuit Clerk’s Office. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Aug. 14, 2023.
- The commission approved correspondence from J. Michael Coffman, Sheriff, requesting the employment of Robert A. Wilt, as fill-in Court Security Officer, effective July 16, 2023.
- The commission approved correspondence from Kimbra Wachob, Assistant Director of the Upshur County Emergency Communications Center, requesting the employment of Erica Lantz, as Emergency Telecommunicator, effective July 17, 2023.