Government, Latest News, Preston County

Kingwood receives grant to help tear down dilapidated buildings

KINGWOOD — Kingwood is making some progress on eliminating dilapidated buildings, the mayor said.

At Tuesday’s regular council meeting, Mayor Jean Guillot said that the Preston County Economic Development Authority has received a grant to pay for pre-demolition work on the Sweet Annie’s building on Price Street. The city is in the process of condemning the building.

West Virginia University students will research who owns the building, and the grant will pay for the legal work and an asbestos survey, Guillot said.

Also, the owners of the vacant blue apartment building at 239 Morgan St., which the city also is in the process of condemning, have said they plan to repair it and put the building up for auction.   

State Police contract

In other discussions, Guillot said that the West Virginia State Police has refused to contract with Kingwood to provide police protection. Last month, council approved contracting for $60 per hour while it seeks city officers.

“[Kingwood Detachment Sgt. J.] Wyatt had two people ready to go Friday. They were fine with it. Contract was signed, notarized, sent through the chain, approved all the way to the top, and then the colonel at the top of the food chain nixed the contract Thursday,” Guillot said.

Councilman Dick Shaffer said, “As long as you’ve got a police department, the state police won’t take it over.”

When Councilman Mike Lipscomb asked Shaffer why he hadn’t mentioned this earlier, Shaffer said no one on council listens to him.

The mayor said he has asked former sheriff and retired Division of Natural Resources Col. Jim Fields to look into the matter. Fields has acted as a consultant to the Kingwood Police Department in the past. Fields suggested local DNR officers may be interested in part-time work for the city, the mayor said.

Council also:

  • Rescheduled the Dec. 24 meeting for 11:30 a.m.
  • Agreed that Recorder Bill Robertson will take an in-depth look at how the city’s garbage and recycling services work and cost. Lipscomb noted that the Tucker County Landfill, which is used by Kingwood, has asked the State Public Service Commission to approve a rate increase.
  • Agreed to meet at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 with a representative of the State Treasurer’s Office about investing city funds through the state.
  • Approved first reading of the revised zoning and planning ordinance. A public hearing will now be scheduled.