Government, Latest News, Preston County

Kingwood council reviews Hot Spot request

KINGWOOD — When it meets Tuesday, Kingwood Council will consider a business license to open a hot spot downtown and an agreement for State Police to patrol town.

Crystal Ellifritz, doing business as Kimmy’s Hot Spot LLC, is applying for a business license for 101 N. Price St. That’s the Herring Building, at the corner of Price and W.Va. 7.

“The preliminary findings are it meets current zoning,” Mayor Jean Guillot said Friday.

The Herring Building has been empty for more than a year. The former tenant moved out after the town blocked the sidewalk because of stone falling from the building. Earlier this year, the owner had the front of the building repaired, and the temporary awning was removed.

“I just felt like it would be nice to see that building operational again,” Ellifritz said. “I think it has so much potential that it’s a shame to let it sit there empty. And it’s my understanding that the owners are willing to do some upgrades, as long as they can get some tenants in there.”

Ellifritz said she won’t be using the entire building now, but she would love to take more of the space and open a restaurant later.

Ellifritz also operates the Albright Kwik Stop, which she upgraded after buying.

“I love Albright and I love Preston County,” Ellifritz said. “There’s some wonderful folks around the area.”

Police needed

Council will also discuss entering into a contract with the West Virginia State Police for troopers to patrol Kingwood under extra-duty contracts.

The town would pay a flat rate of $60 per hour, and the state troopers would use their cruisers, uniforms and other equipment, Guillot said. Kingwood would not have to pay wages or benefits.

Kingwood has one officer, Chief Charlie Haney. It sought unsuccessfully to recruit others. It budgeted funds to pay three officers.

“We don’t have qualified applicants, however we do have a need for additional patrols,” the mayor said.

Haney was left alone when Officer J. Knotts left to take a job as a Preston County deputy sheriff in September.

One of the ways the town tried to keep officers was to require them to sign a contract, promising to work for one year after the town paid for the officer to attend the State Police Academy for certification. Knotts signed the contract, but the sheriff’s department said it will pay the penalty because Knotts left before the year was up.

The city attorney recently sent Knotts a bill for $5,649.95 for the training. As of Friday the city had not received payment.

TWEET @DominionPostWV