CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — The City of Fairmont introduced an ordinance to obtain ownership of the former Fairmont Box Factory through eminent domain during a meeting on Tuesday night.
During that meeting, the council introduced and moved forward the ordinance to obtain the building. The city will hold a public hearing on Nov. 14 about the acquisition and said that if passed, they plan to demolish the building and redevelop the property for a new city park with a trailhead and amenities for the upcoming West Fork River Trail Extension.
“We do wanna make sure the property gets compensated fairly, that’s the good part about eminent domain is that will work with circuit court judge to make sure that they get fairly compensated and taken care of. And then, as we move forward with our project. So, we do believe that it’s necessary to resolve the issues there in order to make sure that we can put the community and successful place in the future,” said Shae Strait, Director of Planning and Development for the City of Fairmont.
Fairmont Mayor, Anne Bolyard said that she would save her comment until the public comment period on the matter so that both sides could be heard at that time. Bolyard did state that “It has not been decided, the specific use as of yet. So, there are several uses that we are exploring.”
City officials said that the Box Factory property is important, especially since it’s tied together with another property that the city is currently under contract to purchase owned by Bobby and Judd Doerfler.
“With that combined with their property we can really create some amazing facilities there, restrooms parking areas, maybe even some small recreational fields if the opportunity presents itself, and that’s the kind of amazing, amazing opportunity we hoping to unlock by putting all these things together in one location,” Strait added. “So since we’re doing it through domain rather than a purchase agreement, we won’t be able to enter the property to do surveys or environmental testing until after the court basically grants ownership of the property, and that point we can have our professionals go in and engineers look at it and will do a full assessment and take account of everything that’s currently on the property because we do wanna make sure that’s also safe for the public and we’re redeveloping the property in the best way for everybody. So, we wanna make sure that it’s an absolute asset not liability in the end so we will do our due diligence and ensure that everything is safe.”
Strait also said that the city understands what the site is, what could be there, and what to expect. He said that the city’s staff have the expertise to solve any issues that may arise and hire professionals to help with the project.