WAVERLY, W.Va.-(WTAP) - UPDATE: 3/20/2017 10:20 PM.
Some encouraging news for Mountwood Park.
White Oak Village's new tenant is one step closer to moving in.
At Monday's Mountwood Park Board Meeting, Reliance treatment L.L.C. told members its continuing to make progress.
The treatment center has paid its' utility boards and reached out to local vendors.
Board Chairman Blair Couch says the center will begin construction in the next few weeks.
Also Monday, board members entered mediation with former White Oak Village tenant, Pressley Ridge.
This means a third party will now help in negotiations.
Couch says it was necessary to avoid legal issues and move forward.
Update: 1/24/2017 4:25 P.M.
The old Pressley Ridge sign is down, and a new sign could soon take its place at Mountwood Park's White Oak Village.
Reliance Treatment L.L.C. recently got a Certificate of Need exemption to set up a facility at White Oak Village.
Mountwood Board Chairman Blair Couch says the organization has one more hurdle to clear: certification that White Oak's facilities are adequate for Reliance to move in.
Couch believes Reliance Ridge should be ready to do that-once Pressley Ridge officially moves out at the end of January.
Discussions about Pressley Ridge and White Oak Village continue into 2017.
Board members say they will continue having meetings with Pressley Ridge to work out legal issues that need resolved.
Also at Monday's meeting, officers were elected for the new year. It was decided that the marina concessionaire agreement will continue for five years.
Lastly, the tenant interested in white oak village is still filling out the necessary paperwork for approval.
The Mountwood Board is one step closer to having a new tenant in White Oak Village.
During the special meeting, they met with an out-of-state- substance abuse treatment and behavioral health provider.
If all goes well with the necessary paperwork, there could be a lease agreement in place by February.
The identity of the provider is being withheld in the meantime until everything clears.
"To have Pressley Ridge tell us on October 21st that they were exiting the park that they'd called home for 20 years, for us to be sitting here December 16, in such a short time frame, to have agreed to in terms of a lease arrangement and the wait for them to receive their approval, I think we've accomplished a lot as a board," said Blair Couch, Mountwood Board member.
Mountwood Board will meet again in mid January.
The Mountwood Park Board met Monday night to talk more about the status of White Oak Village.
The board went into executive session when talking about which substance abuse treatment center might re-locate to there.
Board members are hoping the negotiations will be finalized soon. The current tenant, Pressley Ridge, will be gone at the end of January.
"We have a unique property. It truly is a wonderful facility called White Oak Village. It's been here for a long time. It's been home to Pressley Ridge for the past 20 years. Trying to find a new tenant is not an easy process, so we brought the board together. We continue to explore our options," said Blair Couch, Mountwood Park Board member.
Patsy Hardy was also sworn in as a new board member. She owns the S & P Harley Davidson in Williamstown, West Virginia.
An organization that's interested in renting White Oak at Mountwood Park took a tour of the facilities Wednesday.
Representatives from a substance abuse treatment center came all the way from Kentucky the day before Thanksgiving to look at it.
They came to see what the lodge, cottages and old school on the property have to offer. This is just one of many tours the Mountwood Board has hosted for interested tenants.
One board member says Wood County is one step closer to having more addiction recovery specialists in the area.
"Representatives all the way from Kentucky drove up here the day before Thanksgiving to be here, but that's the need and crisis situation that we're in. People, they need some hope and right before Thanksgiving. The hope is that we're going to turn this lodge and facility into a recovery center," said Blair Couch, a Wood County Commissioner and Mountwood Park Board Member.
The group that toured the grounds was with the Addiction Recovery Center of Kentucky.
11/17/2016 4:30 P.M.
One of four businesses interested in the soon-to-be-closed Pressley Ridge center will tour the facility next week.
Three companies already have had a look at the site located at Mountwood Park.
The latest is the Arc Recovery Center based in Kentucky.
Wood County Commissioner Blair Couch, a member of the Mountwood board, says Arc is scheduled to tour the site next Wednesday.
Couch says addiction treatment companies are among those being contacted about Pressley's availability.
"And I've challenged the others who want to come to our location to do their due diligence," he said "Find out about our area and our community, and about the opportunity to have employment. Mountwood's best benefit is to find a tenant who will pay us reasonable rent, and to employ local people at the same time."
The Recovery Point organization, mentioned as a possible tenant, says it is committed to locating at the former Naval Reserve building on Emerson Avenue.
71 people will lose their jobs with Pressley Ridge closing January 31st.
Pressley Ridge is leaving Mountwood Park at the end of January and prospective buyers are already expressing interest in the property.
The Mountwood Board had a meeting Thursday to discuss who is interested. So far, it's caught the attention of four parties.
All of them are substance abuse treatment facilities. These include centers like Recovery Point and The Arc of Kentucky.
Some interested buyers have already toured the property and more potential tenants are on their way.
"We're going to continuously bring people in and once they see it, they understand how large this facility is. We need to really find someone that's going to help our community," said Blair Couch, Mountwood Board chairman.
The next meeting is Monday, November 21, 2016.
With its current client leaving, the future of a major facility at Mountwood Park is in doubt.
The Wood County Commission Monday discussed what happens after Pressley Ridge shuts down in January.
Earlier this year, the old Naval Armory building on Emerson Avenue was suggested as a location for an addiction recovery program already established in other West Virginia cities.
But Commissioner Blair Couch believes the White Oak Village building, now the location for Pressley Ridge, could better accommodate the Recovery Point program.
"We know it's in disrepair, and would require a lot of money to rehab," Couch told his fellow commissioners. "Perhaps Recovery Point would rather be out in the pretty woods of Mountwood. And we wouldn't have a huge problem with people afraid of 'not in my back yard'".
The Mountwood Park Board of Directors, of which Couch is a member, is to discuss the situation at a special meeting Thursday.
It will be held at 5:15 P.M. at the Judge Black Annex in downtown Parkersburg.
It's had a presence at Mountwood Park for more than 20 years.
Now, a treatment center for children and families is about to close, putting dozens out of work.
Officially, it's called the White Oak Level Three residential program, but people in Wood County have known it as Pressley Ridge.
A statement from Pressley Ridge's corporate offices in Pittsburg says it has given notice of its intent to close the facility.
The statement does not give a closing date, but Wood County Commissioner Blair Couch, who serves on Mountwood Park's board of directors, says it is to take effect January 31.
"We are aware that the state plan is to reduce traditional residential care over the next 4 years," the company's statement says, "and this action is consistent with that direction. This decision does not come easy and was not without serious contemplation."
Couch estimates Mountwood gets annual revenue of $300,000 from rent Pressley Ridge pays the board.
<"In trying to find a new tenant, as I explained to someone, when a door closes, another one opens, Couch said Friday. "We've heard so much about the opioid epidemic and the lack of rehabilitation and treatment facilities throughout our state. This may give us a chance to have that here in Wood County.">
In its statement, Pressley says it wants to expand its foster care and community programs.
"In an era of declining funds for residential programs, our goal is to focus on re-designing our services in our existing residential care programs and expand our continuum of community based and treatment foster care services.".
Couch says Pressley Ridge has 60 employees at its Wood County location.
The corporate office says it will transfer as many staff as possible within the organization..