PARKERSBURG - Looking for guidance from members of Parkersburg City Council's Finance Committee, Mayor Bob Newell outlined potential incentives that could be used to promote the development of the downtown Salvation Army property to a hotel and restaurant.
The committee had a 30-minute meeting Tuesday prior to its regular council meeting.
Newell outlined incentives city officials used in the past to entice and retain businesses in the city.
The Salvation Army's Thrift Store and overnight lodging are located on Fifth Street in Parkersburg. The site is part of the property being discussed for a 100-room hotel and restaurant. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
"We won't do anything we haven't done for others," he said. "But I don't want to get too far into this if there is no appetite for it."
Last month, Newell detailed plans by developers to convert the four-acre Salvation Army property on Fifth Street to a hotel and free-standing restaurant.
City officials said the cost estimate for the project is about $8 million.
In order for anything to happen the Salvation Army would have to be relocated to facilities that are at least as good - if not better - than its current site.
Newell told the committee the city could:
Newell noted these things had been done previously as incentives for Highmark West Virginia and Luigino's Inc.
Committee chairman Jim Reed asked how CDBG funding would be used. Newell and Development Director Ann Conageski said any way the developers wanted.
Reed asked if the departure of Salvation Army Maj. Vernon Dolby would be a problem. Dolby is being transferred.
Newell said he did not think that would be an issue, noting that nothing has actually happened and the final authority for any deal would go through the army's board of directors.
"It is very preliminary right now," the mayor said.
Reed also asked about the loss of B&O taxes. Conageski noted the city collects nothing from the Salvation Army.
"Anything we do is not really a loss," Newell said.
Council member Sharyn Tallman asked who is paying for the appraisal. She was also concerned about the money coming out of the CDBG budget, noting the decline in federal funding.
Conageski said any payments from CDBG would be budgeted next year and be spread over at least two (fiscal) years.
The appraisal costs the city $9,300. Newell said it comes from the development department.
The item was for discussion only and the committee took no action before adjourning for its regular meeting.
During the council meeting, officials met for about 20 minutes.
Council unanimously approved a resolution to sign a contract with the state for $80,000 to be used to construct a restroom at Fort Neal Skate Park. As part of the $80,000, the city will provide $40,000 in in-kind contributions for the construction.
Tallman requested copies of both the estimates for the work and the completed project expenditure.
Officials recognized the Parkersburg South High School wrestling team for winning its fourth consecutive Class AAA title. Newell read a proclamation recognizing coach Paul Jackson and his achievements, declaring Wednesday, May 16, 2012, Paul Jackson Day.
"No Cadillac," Jackson quipped.