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Wood County Commission continues Happy Valley efforts

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Commission has approved the documentation to make offers on eight structures in the Happy Valley area.

Fred Rader, with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council, appeared before the commission Thursday and said the appraisals of the properties are complete and ready for the commission to move forward on them.

“We have the paperwork for you all to make offers to buy eight structures in Happy Valley,” Rader said.

The Happy Valley area along the Little Kanawha River near West Virginia University at Parkersburg experienced two devastating floods in the early 2000s. Over the last several years, property has been purchased through grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of mitigation efforts.

The properties go under the control of the county. Officials hope to have nature eventually reclaim the area, do other conversation projects and plant trees there.

Rader said the properties are not grouped together and are spread out in the area.

The commission unanimously approved to make the offers and signed the related offer letters.

Rader said the purchase price for the properties are within the budget of the federal grant, $1.9 million. The budget for acquisitions is $1.6 million. The total appraised value of the properties is $1,115 million.

Rader said there are still some property owners who have not moved forward with sales yet.

Offers are based on the appraised value of the land. Property owners have three options: accept; decide they no longer want to be part of the project; or challenge the appraised value or hire their own appraiser and present it to the commission, which could then change the offer.

“If they get a certified appraisal that is different, (the commission) can take that under consideration and modify your offer if you so chose,” Rader said.

Contact Brett Dunlap at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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