Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Approved for 5.7 Million Dollar USDA Rural Development Loan

At their January 5th Regular Meeting, the Pocahontas county Commissioners revealed that Pocahontas Memorial Hospital has been approved for a 5.7-million-dollar Rural Development renovation loan by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA.) The approval came just before Christmas.

In another significant action at this meeting, Commissioner Walt Helmick was selected by his fellow commissioners to be Commission President for the upcoming year. The commissioners also updated their assignments to participate in Commission Boards, with most of former commissioner David McLaughlin’s assignments going to new commissioner John Rebinski. This was also Rebinski’s first meeting, having been elected in last November’s general election.

New County Prosecutor Terri Helmick Workman addressed the commissioners saying she would be there to assist them whenever needed.

New Assessor Johnny Pritt also addressed the commissioners stating he was looking forward to performing his new duties.

Jason Bauserman delivered the annual update of the county’s Historic Landmarks commission. He said the Historic Landmarks Commission has two replaced two furnaces at the Opera House this year, at a cost of Five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) each, and anticipates that two other similar furnaces may also need to be replaced in the near future because they are just as old as the two that were replaced.

He said there are two immediate repairs needed. First, the floor at the Log Cabin in Marlinton suffered damage from a water leak that froze. He said that this damage was increased because there was no proper subfloor in the cabin, only particle board which has been ruined by the water.

Bauserman said their second immediate need is to address water damage to the building’s mortar and window sills and other drainage problems at the Opera House.  He said they need to build a canopy along the side of the Opera House facing Discovery Junction to prevent some future water damage from roof runoff.  He said rain guttering will not work because the steep roof would shed heavy snow which will likely slide down and tear off any guttering. There is also a need to install expensive drainage along the outside of the Opera House to divert water from entering the building and sending it into the city drains.

Tim Wade and Laura Dean Bennett of Huntersville Historic Traditions discussed the possible renovation of the former Courthouse-County Clerk’s office located in Huntersville near the old jailhouse.  That courthouse and clerk’s office were built in 1822 when Huntersville was the county seat of Pocahontas County.

On December 15, 2020, Huntersville Historic Traditions, which recently became owner of the former County Clerk building, invited Historic Preservation Consultant Michael Gioulis and Civil Engineer Barry Dickson to examine the building. They issued a report saying it is feasible to restore the building and that would cost about thirty to thirty-five thousand dollars ($30,000 to $35,000.

Wade said the ultimate goal is to have the Clerk’s Office, the school, the jail and the Revolutionary War Cemetery, which are all located in the area, placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Also, at the meeting, the commissioners appointed the mayors of Marlinton, Durbin and Hillsboro to three-year terms on the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and also appointed Heather Niday of Allegheny Mountain Radio; Leisha Cassell Barlow of the Frank-Durbin Volunteer Fire Department; Mike Holstine of the Green Bank Observatory and the Community Representative, John Leyzorek to two-year terms on the LEPC.


Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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