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Kingwood decides to board up Price Street building because of possible hazards

KINGWOOD — Concern for public safety led Kingwood Council to agree Tuesday to board up a downtown building.

The Sweet Annie’s building on South Price Street has been empty for years and is leaning. The city has repeatedly asked the owner, Ann Brown Gupta, of California, to make it safe. Her attorney says she doesn’t own it because it was sold for unpaid taxes.

Two different city attorneys have said she is still the owner, despite the sale.

Earlier the city boarded up the back door. Through the front window, it can be seen that the floor has fallen into the basement. Now, said Mayor Jean-Manuel Guillot, the front door seems to be more open, though not far enough someone could slip through yet.

“I was thinking that for public safety we have (the city supervisor) board up the door,” Guillot said. “And from the outside block off the window.”

Councilman Mike Lipscomb said he is concerned about the large panes of glass on the Price Street side breaking. “The building is quite off center, and those plate glass windows are probably under torsion,” Lipscomb said.

Guillot said people stop and peer in the windows. “If somebody raps on it, it might explode,” Lipscomb said.

Recorder Bill Robertson said he dislikes putting plywood over the street side windows. Are there other options, he asked. City Supervisor Bruce Pyles was asked to look at screens or some other way of covering the glass.

The motion to board up the front door and cover the glass passed unanimously. The city will send Gupta a bill for the work. “We need to try and collect our money,” Robertson said.

Just down the street from Sweet Annie’s is a vacant lot where the city tore down a dilapidated building after the owner gave the property to the town. The city does not own the adjacent corner lot.

Lipscomb suggested selling it. He, Robertson and Councilwoman Michelle Whetsell voted for the motion. Councilman Dick Shaffer voted nay, saying it would be a good spot to move the veteran’s plaza.

Council members Josh Fields and Karen Kurilko were not at the meeting.

“It’s not in our interest to have empty space,” Lipscomb said.

The property will be listed on, with a $5,000 reserve.

Also at the meeting,  trick of treat was set for 5:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 31 in Kingwood. The city Halloween party will begin at 7 p.m. at the Craig Civic Center.

In other matters, Bob Goodwin asked council if additional parking spaces could be added on the street adjacent to his property to help the Down Home Diner with parking.

Monroe’s Restaurant owner Jimmy Maier came to discuss parking on W.Va. 7.

Guillot said he and the city supervisor will meet next week with State Division of Highways (DOH) representatives about parking on state routes such as Route 7 and Tunnelton Street.

“I would think it would be in the city’s best interests to do whatever we can to help businesses out,” Maier said.

Lipscomb and Guillot agreed and said they will suggest it to the DOH.