Commission Approves Agreement With WVU-P

By: Todd Baucher Email
By: Todd Baucher Email

Updated 8/27/2012 6:20 P.M.

It's another step toward the use of land near WVU-Parkersburg to grow crops.

The Wood County Commission Monday approved an agreement in principle for the school to use the land to grow food for its new culinary school.

It's land in the Happy Valley area which was not part of a recent flood mitigation agreement.

"The residents who contacted me personally all said this was a great idea," said Commission President David Blair Couch. "There were residents who wanted to rent those lots, because they could have a weekend party place, and they're the ones most upset about the whole program."

Earlier this year, some residents protested the move, out of concern it might encourage weekend parties from some students.

Updated 4/30/2012 6:10 P.M.

West Virginia University at Parkersburg is getting eight Happy Valley lots for its agricultural program.

That's what the Wood County Commission approved Monday, after two weeks of discussion.

People who already own lots there were concerned as to whether the school would try to take over lots already leased there, and whether the school's lots would be attractive to weekend partiers.

"It's not like students will be down there themselves," said Geni Astorg, Executive Director of the WVU-P Foundation. "There will be instructors. We're working on different kinds of growing techniques, and some experimental year-round growing."

"I personally think you're the highest and best usage of that property," noted commissioner Wayne Dunn, "but if we satisfy the homeowners while we do it, especially while you're not needing it, let's do that."

WVU-P is getting eight lots, and the commission decided that if property owners decide in the future to give theirs up, the school might be eligible to get more.

During the recent discussions, it was noted land at the university itself is being used for the planned armory.

And a contract may be awarded Thursday, for the demolition of the former Wood County Magistrate court building.

The county commission opened three bids for the project Monday from area contractors.

The site will become a parking lot for the Joseph P. Albright Justice Center, which opened at the first of the year.

That's where a feed store was until the late 1980's, when the magistrate court was relocated there.

Updated 4/26/2012 7:00 P.M.

There are still questions about property West Virginia University at Parkersburg wants to lease in Happy Valley.

The Wood County Commission has offered property located near current property owners ... as part of a post-flooding agreement with FEMA.

The college, meantime, is getting some un-leased property for use by its agricultural school.

"Everybody I've spoken to there doesn't want it," property owner Angie Maher told the commission Thursday. "They're worried about excess traffic, the extra wear and tear on the road, people coming down after hours and partying, when they're not supposed to be, because they're college kids."

"We still don't want this to turn into a river lot, where people come down on the weekends, either to fish or hang out," said Commission President Blair Couch. "This is a residential community; this is where people don't expect to have parties going at 2 A.M."

The commission plans to meet Monday ... to begin finalizing the leases, which are offered according to their appraised property values.


People who have held leases on property in post-flood Happy Valley aren't happy with plans by West Virginia University at Parkersburg to develop land there.

Daniel Bonnell, who maintains a mobile home on the site, is one of them.

He says he sold his site to FEMA after the 2004-2005 floods, with the expectation that he would be allowed to regain ownership of it.

"One of my neighbors, to keep the public out of there, leased two of these properties," Bonnell told the commission Monday. "And that's what I'm willing to do, to keep Happy Valley as what we always had it as, a nice community."

"We have been consistent in our statements to the public, that we would always consider the adjoining property owner first," Commission President Blair Couch responded. "And that's what we've been doing, even when WVU-P wanted leases for properties that hadn't even been knocked down yet."

The commission last week agreed to lease some of the Happy Valley land to WVU-P, for its agricultural school, with the possibility of leasing more later on.

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  • by Mack Location: Pkbg on Aug 29, 2012 at 10:59 AM
    Way to go WVU-P! This will be a great program for your students, regardless of what the naysayers are spouting.
  • by sunny on May 2, 2012 at 03:59 PM
  • by Curious Location: Parkersburg on May 2, 2012 at 09:18 AM
    Kudos to Commissioners Couch & Gainer for fighting for the rights of the residents of Happy Valley. They had the courage to honor their promise to the people. Mr. Dunn didn't want to honor the promise that had been made repeatedly to Miss Maher about the adjoining lots to her property. Thank You again Commissioners Blair Couch & Steve Gainer!
  • by Anonymous on May 2, 2012 at 06:57 AM
    Is this part of the rewilding of America effort by Trilateral Commision henchmen?
  • by Big Willie on May 1, 2012 at 06:15 PM
    Im with worn out... anyone interested should go sign up to lease the properties. Its gotta be less than the average river lot and less than what I spend in gas money hauling the boat to the river on the weekends. Dan had his fun and a lot in his name once. Not to be mean dan, but come on... you took a hand shake promise from the government and now you're mad cause they turned there back on you. In my business I have written contracts with them and still have to fight for my money... it sucks but move on
  • by MUHUHAHA on May 1, 2012 at 03:51 AM
    I AM THE EFFECTS OF 8 YEARS OF BUSH (and a long-term history of corrupt political leaders and agenda), FEEL MY WRATH!!! MUHUHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA
  • by WVUP student on Apr 30, 2012 at 07:06 PM
    YAY!!! Party at the River Lot!!!!!
  • by daniebo Location: Washington on Apr 30, 2012 at 03:08 PM
    Thank of it this way, and the way it is going to be. The part of the lot that is level, is small. This might be a lot that WVUP will not even want. Then if someone is doesnt lease the empty lot, then the Wood County Commissioners will have to maintain it. I am showing my interest in the lot in the case that this is one of the lots they do not want.
    • reply
      by wornout on May 1, 2012 at 04:10 PM in reply to daniebo
      I should have an equal oppertunity to lease it.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 29, 2012 at 03:05 PM
    The truth of the matter is, the government can't market the area for its abundant river resources until all the tin can alleys and 1960s trailers are removed from sight. US-50 took car of half of the problem. FEMA is taking care of the rest.
  • by Bummer on Apr 29, 2012 at 06:35 AM
    Hears how it all went down for danbo and his friends... "look at the offer from fema!! They're gonna pay us way more than anyone ever would for our property and then lease it back to us for next to nothing AND we don't have to pay flood insurance!! We can get that new house out of the flood plain and have our river lot to party and boat!! Wow fema is stupid this great!!" Is it sounds to good to be true especially from the government... IT IS!
    • reply
      by Yep on Apr 29, 2012 at 02:09 PM in reply to Bummer
      I think that about sums it up, Bummer! End of story!
    • reply
      by danielbo on Apr 30, 2012 at 01:55 PM in reply to Bummer
      That is so stupid. I would much rather be living on the river. The property was appraised not only once but twice. So the value that was paid, was market value. A lot of people didn't even take the market value. One person sold his home and moved across the river. Yes, I did want it to enjoy the river. If you dont know what you are saying, you shouldnt be talking. You have to pay the taxes on the property with I grant you isnt next to nothing. FEMA is not stupid, they made a great decision to save money.
      • reply
        by wornout on May 1, 2012 at 04:09 PM in reply to danielbo
        You did well also or you wouldn't have taken the deal. It might have ended up not being the deal you thought you were getting but that's what happens when you allow the government get involved in stuff like this.
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