Bath Supervisors hold their November meeting

When the Bath County Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday evening, towards the top of the bill, was presenting resolutions honoring two local volunteers who gave selflessly to the community. The family of Mr. Leonard Neil, a founding member, and long time chief of the Burnsville Volunteer Fire Department, was present to receive the proclamation in his honor. The resolution for Mrs. Mary Adderton

will be given to her in a special gathering at Piney Grove Baptist Church, on Saturday, November 18th. Not only was Mrs. Adderton a veteran teacher in Bath County Schools, she also served many organizations and causes to the betterment of the whole county.

In the first opportunity for public comment, Phil Deemer of Preservation Bath announced the kick-off meeting for the survey of the villages of Warm Springs and West Warm Spring as a Virginia Historic District. He was pleased to present the county with Preservation Bath’s share of the cost of the survey, and noted those funds had been a gift to the non-profit last year.

“We’d also like to acknowledge the money that we received in 2016 from a business in Warms Springs, the Warm Springs Gallery. We were the designated non-profit for the Plein- Air Festival which is one of the most wonderful things that happens in Warm Springs, in Bath County in the fall to bring in visitors from all over.”

Mr Deemer also had some good news for those concerned about the indefinitely closed Jefferson Pools. While waiting to learn what the Omni Homestead’s plans for the pools may be, at least one architect has looked closely enough at the structures to try to figure out what the scope of the project may be. That report

“Says that much of the original fabric of those buildings is still intact and can be used. That’s very important, and secondly, in order for the work to be done properly, those do not need to be deconstructed, in fact, should not be deconstructed. In order to apply for and receive both federal and state historic tax credits, they should be restored intact. They may need to be braced during work; but they should not be taken down and rebuilt.”

Another item was a request for support from Omni Homestead Corporate management regarding additional transient occupancy tax, known locally as the lodging tax. Members of the lodging community were assured earlier in the day this increase will apply only to the Homestead, but first must be approved by the state legislature. Mike Smith, Executive Vice President Real Estate and Development for TRT, described deferred maintenance at the resort, and the need for capital improvements as the main reasons for proposing this solution.

“In the last four years we’ve become familiar with the operations at the Hotel, and the facility itself, and we have an understanding of the capital needed to bring that property back to its iconic, historic nature, and I should add that we do think that the Homestead is an iconic property, and it’s an amazing place and we’re very proud to be a part of it. What we’ve been looking to do is to find a way that it makes sense as an investment to continue to invest in the property, and one of the things that we believe would assist that, is the proposal that we wanted to make today.”

The board voted unanimously to provide the needed local support. If approved by the General Assembly, the funds generated by the tax would be administered through a three-part performance grant agreement between the resort, the board of Supervisors and the EDA. The intention is the roughly seventy- million dollars generated by this increase over time would keep the Omni Homestead “viable for the next thirty years.”

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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