Bath Town Hall meeting comments on proposed purchase of Building

Bath Board of Supervisors offered a Town Hall meeting on Thursday evening to receive input on the subject of a visitors’ center, and it was well attended. At last month’s regular board meeting several residents raised concerns because the board had authorized the county administrator to make a conditional purchase offer for a building in Hot Springs, which they would plan to use as a Visitor’s Center.   On Thursday evening the board briefly addressed a list of around twenty question posed by constituents through emails and phone calls. By the end of the evening the question no longer seemed to “where should the Visitor’s center be located?” but more “How badly do we even need an actual visitors’ center?” and exactly “why would one want to buy a big building in Hot Springs unless it were truly a need?”  Even though most speakers would have liked to see some facility to welcome visitors completed years ago, they suggested the building could be a temporary fix, but if so, then why buy it? Several speakers encouraged their representatives to move more slowly on such a decision.   In whole, four people spoke in favor of the possible downtown location; around eleven supported the Mitchelltown site, and one asserted neither is essential. Again and again the issue came up of a need for community space, not necessarily indoors, to attract visitors and residents alike.

Jay Trinca, a local business owner commented. “There’s not a single place for a ‘We the people’ to have a park, or a picnic or anything on this side of the mountain. It just seems a shame. Monterey’s got its nice little park; you go around the various places in the state, and they have a park.”

Susan Plecker of Millboro, a former President of the Chamber of Commerce observed.

“What about the Bed and Breakfasts in the County? Those people need something to do when they come here. If we had an amphitheater there, they would say, ‘Hey there’s music going on tonight, Let’s go down and listen to the music with all the community members.   What a nice gathering that would be.”

The question of comparing costs came up and the price of around six hundred thousand dollars for the Hot Springs building certainly seemed preferable to the large cost of new construction. But proponents of the Mitchelltown site reminded supervisors the original plan had called for the development as funds from lodging taxes become available.

The board encouraged residents to continue to weigh in with, perhaps not entirely opinions on either/or, but with suggestions for creative alternatives.

Since the amount is over 1% of the budget, a public hearing is required. The public hearing to address amending the budget is Tuesday the 10th of October during the regular monthly board meeting.   The board also accepts letters through the County Administrators’ office.





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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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