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Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau making bid for Point Park Marketplace

The Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau will be making an offer to the City of Parkersburg to buy the Point Park Marketplace building near the Blennerhassett Museum and the floodwall in Parkersburg. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — The Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau will bid on the Point Park Marketplace building near the floodwall in Parkersburg.

The CVB will submit a bid proposal today to the city to acquire the property, said Wood County Commission President Blair Couch, who also serves as the chairman of the CVB Board of Directors.

“We think that is where they should be,” Couch said. “The whole idea is it is a wonderful facility to be at to promote Parkersburg and Wood County.”

Couch said the building was appraised at $260,000.

CVB President and CEO Mark Lewis declined to release what they are offering, as it is a sealed bid that will be opened by city officials next week.

“That location makes a great deal of sense for us,” Lewis said of its location near the Blennerhassett Museum and the riverfront where people board the boats to go to Blennerhassett Island.

He is hopeful people would stop in the visitors center they hope to put there before or after going to the island so they could learn about other area attractions.

“We hope to be able to bring in more tourists and more tourism dollars,” Lewis said. “That location would significantly enhance our ability to do that.”

County officials feel the location is better than the current site at 350 Seventh St. in Parkersburg, with more parking and space for events.

“The CVB does a lot of good work trying to promote our museums and tourism in general,” Couch said. “They work to get people to stay at our hotels, eat at our restaurants and visit Wood County.

“That would be a home base for them that would be ideal.”

Officials have discussed that tickets could be sold there for the boats to the island as well as being able to put up displays highlighting other attractions such as Henderson Hall, the Oil and Gas Museum, the Smoot Theatre, the Parkersburg Art Center, the Actors Guild, the Blennerhassett Hotel and more.

“It will be a one-stop shop,” Couch said.

Lewis said if they get the property, they will hire an architect to come up with designs and determine what renovations may be needed.

They could also utilize the space out back for different events in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Downtown PKB and other organizations, he said.

Couch said the back lot can also be utilized for bus tour parking and more.

“That building has been empty for a few years now,” he said. “We have high hopes the city will accept our offer.”

A committee consisting of city staff, development personnel and elected officials will review and grade proposals for the property, with more emphasis on the plans for the building than the purchase price. Parkersburg City Council President Zach Stanley on Tuesday appointed himself and Councilman Mike Reynolds to the committee.

During the public forum at Tuesday’s council meeting, area resident Charles Roberts said he thought the city should hold onto the building, given the amount of taxpayer money that’s been spent on it. At the very least, he said, it should go toward tourism and suggested letting an organization like the Veterans Museum of the Mid-Ohio Valley or CVB use it.

Staff reporter Evan Bevins contributed to this story.

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com.

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