Committee votes to authorize demolition of Citizens Bank Building

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) 2/14/2018 6:00 P.M.

The owner of the more than 120-year old structure made a sometimes emotional plea to the building improvement and façade committee Wednesday, explaining why demolishing it is in his-if not the city's-best interests.

"Because it's such a big building, there has to be a continuous plan of updates and maintenance," said building owner Robert Shaffer. "I cannot undo 50 years of people doing nothing with the building."

But historical advocates argue it would be one more example of a structure torn down, potentially with nothing but a parking lot-if that-replacing it.

"There are partnerships, there are non-profits," said Justin Roedershimer, who circulated petition opposing demolition. "There is a statewide non-profit, there are other creative solutions we can come up with to help move this preservaton effort forward."

Committee member and Parkersburg councilman J.R. Carpenter made a motion to open the meeting to a public discussion on the issue. It died for lack of a second.

"It is a shame to have a public meeting," said Bob Enoch, President, Wood County Historical Society, "and not give the public a chance to comment. It's crazy."

Shaffer said the structure has mostly been vacant in the 17 years since he's owned it, and insisted he's tried to save it, with little success.

"If an investor so decided to incur this investment," said Wayne Waldeck, Commission member, "where would they find the tenants to occupy the building?"

The structure is the second targeted for demolition at that location in recent months.

2/14/2018 12:00 P.M.

Parkersburg's Business District Design and Facade Committee votes to allow the demolition of the former Citizens Bank Building at 4th and Market Street.

It was told by the building's owner, Robert Shaffer, the structure needs millions of dollars to be restored-more than he can afford-and has not attracted enough tenants in recent years to keep it going.

Another historic building in downtown Parkersburg may soon have a meeting with the wrecking ball.

It is officially known as the Citizens Bank Building at 4th and Market Streets, across the corner from the Hotel Blennerhassett and the Donald F. Black Annex.

An item before the Parkersburg Business District Design and Façade Committee's bi-monthly meeting Wednesday February 14, calls for demolition of the structure.

A For Sale sign on the building lists its selling price at $169,000.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Partly for that reason, an online petition opposes the demolition.

Except for an occasional short-lived business, the building has been mostly vacant for years.

The façade committee meets next Wednesday at 9 A.M. at the Parkersburg City Building.

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