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Upshur County Commission President Sam Nolte

Upshur County Commission selects company for demolition of buildings near courthouse

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission chose a company to tear down several buildings near the courthouse.

According to a previous My Buckhannon story, the commission purchased 10 parcels of land along Chancery Street for $400,000 from grantor Gary W. Evans via a deed executed on Dec. 19, 2022. At the Jan. 25 Upshur County Commission meeting, Upshur County administrator Tabatha Perry said they received bids from two companies interested in the demolition project involving some of those locations.

“During our meeting on Dec. 21, you approved a request for proposals for a demolition project for 12 Chancery Street, 6 Chancery Street and 18 South Locust Street,” Perry said. “Two companies submitted bid proposals prior to the deadline — one was from Smokey Joe Enterprises out of Dailey, West Virginia, and the other was Reclaim from Fairmont.”

Reclaim submitted a proposal of $84,500, which would cover the demolition of all properties and asbestos abatement. Smokey Joe provided a bid proposal at $120,585, which also covered asbestos abatement and building demolition for all properties. Commission president Sam Nolte and commissioner Doug Bush voted to award the bid to Reclaim. Commissioner Kristie Tenney was absent from the meeting.

“There’s not a whole lot of property located close to the courthouse,” Nolte said. “This is a good way for us to have the ability to expand the campus of the courthouse down the road if we would like, plus in the near future, it’s going to create more parking closer to the courthouse, which I think will definitely be beneficial all the way around.”

Another longer-term plan involves working with the state to widen Route 20 in that area.

“We’ve been in communication with the Department of Highways,” Nolte said. “Route 20 is the main route that runs through Buckhannon, so having the ability to widen the road and lengthen the third lane [at the stoplight] will make traffic flow better in the future. That’s probably still a year and a half out, but getting the buildings down is the first step.”

Previously, the commission contacted the city about demolishing the buildings, but the city already has numerous street projects that are ongoing.

“The city has plenty of things going on; I think they were willing to do it for us, but we recognize they have a lot on their plate,” Nolte said. “We appreciate them throwing the offer out to us, and we’d like to do the period lighting coming down the street to match Main Street, so I think it’s a nice project everyone can get behind.”

Bush said mayor Robbie Skinner has noted that Route 20 is the longest route in West Virginia, and its narrowest point is right next to Main Street and the courthouse.

“It only takes about two vehicles to get things clogged up there,” Bush said. “When kids are going to school in the morning and getting out in the afternoon, traffic really becomes backed up everywhere. The flow would be smoother if we expand the road.”

In a previous My Buckhannon story, Skinner said it would be great to improve that end of Main Street.

“We want to see the area beautified, we want to see the area be more functional, so I think it’s great we have the county government and city government on board to realize drastic improvement in this section of the downtown area,” Skinner said.

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