|The Calhoun Commission will have a special meeting at 4 p.m. today to
consider sites for a new emergency services center for the county.|
A second agenda item is the transfer of Wayne Underwood Field to the
Calhoun Commission for recreational use. The Calhoun County Board of
Education has stipulated the property must be used for community and
"The Pit" a large grassy practice field
A second stipulation was added at the last school board meeting, which
would exclude the large "pit" or practice field and a parking lot near Rt. 16
from the deal. Board member Ralph Cunningham says money is desperately
needed for new field lighting at the Mt. Zion complex, and he would like to
reserve that section for possible sale to a bidder.
Calhoun's E-911, emergency medical services and OES center is looking for
a new home. The current structure at Mt. Zion is structurally unsound,
decaying and does not meet minimal standards, including fire codes.
The quarters are cramped. Office of Emergency Services Director Bill
Stemple says there is no place for OES emergency equipment and supplies
for the county. 911 Director Barry Pitts says the E-911 center needs to be in
a secured setting.
House of Delegates member and county OES Director , Stemple says he has
$90,000 to start the project. A site for the center behind Calhoun
Middle/High School has become lukewarm, with some citizens protesting the
possible safety hazards of emergency vehicles running through the school's
"Other than safety concerns over the access road, it would be a great site,"
said Commission President Larry McCallister.
McCallister said "We are looking at all the options," including the Hamilton
property on High Street in Grantsville, currently being offered by Knott's
Memorial United Methodist Church. If the public has other ideas, McCallister
said to contact commission members.
Map of Hamilton property on High Street, Grantsville
The balancing of ambulance response time between stations at Minnora and
Grantsville would remain fair to county residents.
The Calhoun Middle/High School site is near the new bus garage at the far
end of the complex, and has been offered free of charge by Calhoun
The schools interest in that location may be linked to providing security for
the multi-million dollar complex, possibly obtaining a state highway as an
access road and improving turning lanes and better access to the school's
entrance, a much needed addition.
OES Director Delegate Stemple suggested purchasing the Gary Dye garage,
just south of the county park entrance along Route 16.
Dye property suggested for center
Stemple says the property can be purchased, without equipment, for
$100,000, although he says it would take more money to remodel the site.
The Dye property has two multi-bay garages with a nearby cottage, much of
the construction being done about 1960.
Stemple is employed by the Morris family holdings which owns Calhoun
Realty, the company which has the listing. The West Virginia Ethics
Commission says it is not an ethical violation for Stemple to recommend the
Dye site, unless undue pressure would exist regarding its purchase.
He said "The final decision rests with the Commission. I think we should
keep looking for possible sites."
Stemple told The Parkersburg News the new center could cost $185,000.
Other sites considered include the County County Park, which has some
restrictions regarding its defined use as a recreational facility. The main
entry to the park has some safety hazards regarding traffic. Park land at the
mouth of Riffle Run was considered, but it has been described as swamp
land, which could become a costly venture for site preperation.
Calhoun Commissioner David Barr says the Hamilton site by far is the best
option. "I think we can raise money for this project and get help from the
community to get this done," he said. The 1.61 acre site is essentially flat
Barr said "We need to build a structure that will serve the community and
last through this century."