Wood given details for demolition

PARKERSBURG – Specifications for demolition of the former Wood County Holding Center were turned over to the county commission Monday.

But some in the community are asking county officials to consider other options.

“Why do you want to tear down the old jail,” Harold Yglesias asked the commissioners on Monday.

Commissioner President Wayne Dunn told Yglesias the building is costing the county about $8,000-$9,000 monthly for utilities, plus the cost of insurance.

“But I see you giving away money here like it’s confetti and that only amounts to about $20 a day. Can’t you find some other use for it,” Yglesias said.

“We’ve tried to sell it to the regional jail officials and state prison system, and they didn’t want it. We’ve tried to work with local agenices on a possible site for a farmers’ market, but it was too cost prohibitive to heat and cool it. If we demolish it and put in parking, we can at least get some revenue from it. There are also businesses and agencies downtown that don’t want to see it used as any sort of prison facility,” Commissioner Blair Couch said.

Yglesias said he was scheduled to tour the old holding center this week and planned to meet with the commissioners again next week to discuss possible alternative uses for the building.

“Money is tight; waste not, want not. It’s not costing that much and it’s already there,” Yglesias said, suggesting the commissioners investigate further to see what could be done with the Second Street structure.

“It’s a jail. It has limited use,” Couch noted.

“I hope you don’t get any bids or you turn them down, please reconsider,” Yglesias said. “It just needs cleaned up.”

“The reports are the walls have separated and you can see daylight coming through,” Commissioner Steve Gainer said.

“We appreciate any suggestions or ideas you might have. We are thinking about demolition right now and using it for a parking lot. There’s a fair amount of space down there,” Dunn said. County officials said estimates were between 200-300 parking spaces could be created on the property.

“We were down this year on our ending balance. If we could generate more income, we could have met those projections. Our revenues over the past few years have been flat. We want to build a quality of life in the community, and I think you want the same thing. That’s how we get the best ideas, by discussing possibilities,” Dunn said.

“You remember how Snowden Kesterson saved the courthouse when everyone said it was falling apart. We just need to preserve things for our children and grandchildren. Just don’t step over a dollar to pick up a dime with a parking lot,” Ygelesias said.

County administrator Marty Seufer told commissioners a separate bid for removal of the asbestos tile in the holding center would need to be sought as well.

“You should probably put that out for bid at the same time to get a fair idea of the entire cost for consideration,” Seufer said.

“We need to get an estimate to see the cost. There’s no commitment to do any of it,” Dunn noted.

A smaller version of the holding center was constructed in the Wood County Justice Center and all personnel with the holding center and home confinement were moved from the Second Street location when the justice center opened early 2012.

Prior to being a holding center the building was the county jail from the time it was constructed in the 1970s until 2001 when the regional jail authority was formed and all inmates serving sentences were transferred to the North Central Regional Jail at Greenwood, Doddridge County.