History now rubble: Tyler Co. Commission President says $6-million in restoration was just not feasible

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Some say there is no going back now, while others say it was too late to salvage.

TYLER COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – One of the people responsible for making the call on tearing down a historic home in Tyler County spoke out Monday after distraught residents said there were ways to salvage the home. The Commission President said that it was just not feasible.

The fight is over for a historic property in Tyler County started back in 2015. Commissioners say they have looked into saving the building, but the starting price to make it happen would cost millions.

Just to make it structurally sound is $6-million. It’s just no feasible or intelligent to do that for the benefit of the whole county.

John Stender, Tyler Co. Commission President

Stender says the starting point was $6-million in repairs alone, according to a hired forensic structural engineer who gave his professional estimate for restoration. This price would not even account for the upkeep that would follow.

However, members with the Tyler County Restoration Committee say appraisal was much lower from other perspectives and that responsibility of disrepair falls on the hands of leaders.

It’s not to degrade anybody, but the commissioners had a job to do on maintaining it, and the fair association had a job to do on maintaining it.
And it’s been failed in the past and we can’t go backwards.

Peggy George, Middlebourne resident of 60 years

Backwards, maybe. But was it just too late to save?

In three years they raised about $24,000, and they split that up among organizations. They told us they had a person who could redo the whole thing for $1 million; we still don’t know who that is or if they have any qualifications. We had some local people who said they could do it for a couple hundred-thousand… If you’re in a preservation society, it has
to be done to their specs. You have to come in and meet their specifications on a historic building, which is you gotta put it back the way it was built in the first place.

John Stender, Tyler Co. Commission President

Commissioners say they reached out to Salvage-Dawgs in Virginia to see if the company was interested in the building and materials, but to no avail.

“In my opinion, if we put $6-million up there, that’s a waste of 6 million dollars when we have everyday buildings that people are working in and the population is using needs taken care of.

John Stender, Tyler Co. Commission President

The commission president says the building has been out of use for over 30 years, and with no planning commission, Tyler County was just not ready to take care of a building that may or may not generate revenue.

The reason we have the ability to make these changes and do this kind of work is the gas money. The property taxes went up; we’re able to support this, if we don’t do it now, it’s never going to get done.

John Stender, Tyler Co. Commission President

A full report on the county’s efforts to document the property prior to its demo can be found in the Tyler County Clerks Office.

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