The Times West Virginian

October 6, 2013

All will benefit with city, county making the most out of property deal

Times West Virginian

— Making the most of available resources.

That’s the key to any endeavor, and it’s why we applaud a city-county agreement that’s on the verge of formal approval.

At its weekly meeting last Wednesday, the Marion County Commission approved the transfer of its property of the 100 block on Adams Street in Fairmont to the City of Fairmont in exchange for the city’s property at Palatine Park.

That means the county will be able to proceed full speed with the development of the riverfront — something that has been discussed for decades and is now seeing real progress.

The city, meanwhile, will acquire prime downtown property — the site of the former state office building that has been demolished.

The city has discussed plans for the Adams Street property for some time, but plans have not been finalized.

“It’s integral to downtown,” City Manager Jay Rogers said. “Ever since the former state office building closed, we knew development wold happen. We want to look at the entire block. Whether it’s long-term parking, open space or a building, there are a lot of things to look at.”

Kris Cinalli, county administrator, said that paperwork was still being completed last week.

City council will have two ordinances drawn up for the Tuesday meeting, one to authorize transfer of the Palatine Park property to the county and a second to accept the deed to the 100 block.

“They will add the provision that will give us control of the property immediately with the approval of their resolution. We also reserve the right to approve construction of structures they propose to build,” Cinalli said.

City and county officials, after long discussions about the transfer of the “green space” property, believe substantial progress will be the result.

“I’m glad to see the great cooperation with the two entities to bring to resolution the transfer of the property. I think the entire county will benefit. I am confident this will be a smooth transfer,” said Randy Elliott, commission president.

He noted that “we’ll get what we need at Palatine to continue further developing the park.”

Rogers said the city has been discussing various projects planned for Palatine Park over the years, wondering if they would occur if the transfer took place.

“That took some time,” he said. “The city never opposed what the commission proposed to do on the riverfront. Our position was we wanted to be partners to do some of this work.”

Those projects, a two-story pavilion and a marketplace structure, were fleshed out and put in ink at a council work session on Sept. 5.

After that, Rogers said, things worked out easily.

The two-story pavil­ion could be rented out to the public for special events, and a 25,000-square-foot “market­place” would house a farmers market as well as retail shops, restaurants and services.

With this deal, the potential to take advantage of Fairmont’s location on the Monongahela River has never been greater. We’re also eager to see what develops with the 100 block of Adams Street as Fairmont works to build a more vibrant downtown, particularly with the future opening of a new state office building just a few blocks away.

“We’ll both benefit, and all the citizens of Marion County will benefit,” Elliott said.

That’s the result of working together to maximize resources.