ARC Owners Have Big Plans For Marlinton Building

Marlinton, WV – John Fitzgerald and JP Duncan have big plans in mind for the Allegheny Recreation Center, located on 2nd Avenue in Marlinton. Fitzgerald presented some of those plans to the Pocahontas County Commission last Tuesday night during the yearly review of their lease of the building housing the ARC.

The two entrepreneurs have been operating the ARC for several years, and up until this spring, the building had also housed the county’s animal shelter. The ARC is now home for the Family Resource Network offices and visiting room, a beauty salon, and other spaces for flea markets, public events, storage and a restaurant/snack area. Now, Fitzgerald says they would like to bring something even larger to the space.

“We’re now asking for the approval of the County Commissioners for ARC to build a swimming pool inside” says Fitzgerald. “But for us to do so, we’d like to invest 40 to 50 thousand dollars into this project, and we would need at least 15 years extended lease to recover our investment.”

He says it would be an above ground pool inside the building, available for year round use. The project is still in the preliminary stages, so they haven’t settled on a particular design or size yet. Commissioner Jamie Walker asked about liability issues.

“We have met with our insurance company and they have quoted us a insurance coverage specifically on the pool, and we will be liable as in the lease [of the ARC building] we are liable for anything that happens in that building as of now” says Fitzgerald. “And we would have to make a considerable upgrade on the insurance as far as cost, but that would be [our] coverage.”

Commission President David Fleming likes the idea, especially since the multipurpose community center to be built adjacent to Marlinton Elementary doesn’t include a swimming pool. Fitzgerald says they also spoken with other municipalities.

“Well we checked on the Monterey [Virginia] pool, and their only regrets are that it wasn’t inside” he says. “They say that they’re breaking even right now, but if they would have had an indoor pool, they could make it a lot better. But it’s public supported and county supported.”

The current lease is a one year, renewable agreement between the Commission and the ARC owners. This is first year since beginning the agreement that the ARC will actually pay rent, designated as 8% of the net revenues. Fitzgerald actually gave the Commission a check for 10% – 8% for rent, and 2% percent as a security.

The Commissioners are intrigued by the idea, but want a lot more information before they’ll agree to extend the lease beyond the one year limit. As part of the lease review process, Jay Miller speaking behalf of the Pocahontas County Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, asked the Commissioners about their intentions towards the animal shelter space in the building.

“The issue is that the county owns that building and the county paid to have part of it renovated for an animal shelter” says Miller, “and there are state funds that were used to build the awning in the parking lot and the dog run; that facility for a variety of reasons is now vacant.”

Miller says the SPCA wants to modify the lease with the ARC to allow the shelter area to be separated from the rest of the building. This would allow the SPCA or other organizations to bid on the animal control contract next spring and use that space as a county animal shelter once again. He says the Commission has taken such an action before when they expanded the lease to include land behind the building to grow hay and corn.

Miller says it’s within the purview of the Commission to likewise modify the lease to separate the shelter area. But the Commissioners were not convinced.

“I’m not inclined at this point to pursue separating off that portion of the building” says Commissioner Fleming.

“The concern is a matter of use of a government resource that will remain vacant as long as ARC controls it” says Miller.

“Mr. Miller, we already have an animal shelter, we went through that, so we’re not worried about that right now” says Commissioner Martin Saffer. “We’ll bid it again next June, but I don’t think we have the right to go against the lease that we entered into with ARC.”

The Commission took no further action on the request.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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