Demolition of old bus garage under way

PARKERSBURG – The demolition of the former Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority bus garage on First Street began over the weekend, officials said.

The MOVTA approved the sale of the outdated garage to Jim McCutcheon, highest bidder, for $155,000 last November. The garage at 213 First St. is about two blocks from where the transit authority originally began and the site will become a parking lot, officials said.

McCutcheon said the facility will be a much better site for people to see when driving into Parkersburg. He said work for the demolition was coming along pretty well and workers hope to finish in another week and a half.

“We’re going to light it and make it attractive,” McCutcheon said of the property. “It’s coming good.”

Tim Thomas, MOVTA general manager, said the garage is no longer affiliated with the transit authority, and the organization will continue to look for a new property to use for bus maintenance.

Thomas had discussed with MOVTA board members the building, containing asbestos among other environmental safety concerns, would have been a risk to the organization to renovate or properly demolish. Transit officials had authorized the sale, and Thomas had listed the property, taking the highest bidder.

Mayor Bob Newell said the project is a good one for the city and for the Bureau of the Public Debt employees. He said Jim McCutcheon, co-owner of the Parkersburg Parking Facility, demolished the building to make room for Public Debt employees to park.

Newell said had the building been suitable for something the city would have reconsidered letting it be demolished. Since the building had environmental concerns and was in “pretty sore shape,” he said, city officials thought the demolition of the building was best.

“Cleanup (of the building) was quite an undertaking,” Newell said. “It had gotten to the point where (the building) was in too bad of shape for the transit to keep up with it.”

The bus garage had been an “eyesore” for the lower end of downtown for a while and it is a good project for the city, he said.

“We appreciate the work (McCutcheon) has done,” Newell said of improving the look of downtown.