Friends of Wheeling Bestow Annual Awards

WHEELING — Friends of Wheeling and Wheeling Heritage co-sponsored their annual awards dinner Wednesday evening at River City restaurant. Each year Friends of Wheeling honors individuals and/or organizations that have made noteworthy contributions to historic preservation in the local area. Periodically, Wheeling Heritage presents a similar “Friend of Heritage” award to a noteworthy individual.

This year’s Friend of Heritage award was presented to Randall Reid-Smith, curator of the Department of Arts, Culture and History.

Presenting the award, Jake Dougherty, executive director of Wheeling Heritage, said, “His leadership at the Department of Arts, Culture, and History has built a foundation for our programs at Wheeling Heritage. His determination to improve the quality of life in our state is clear, but so is his passion for Wheeling. Over the years, his commitment to investing in West Virginia Independence Hall – West Virginia’s most important building – can be seen in every nook and cranny and around the building’s expanding grounds. Maybe his most evident passion, though is for youth education. His leadership in growing the History Bowl is critically important in building the craving for life-long learning in the state’s youth.”

Friends of Wheeling presented three awards at the dinner. The first recipient was Ohio County Clerk Michael Kelly. Since taking office on Jan. 1, 2017, he has accomplished two specific tasks that resulted in his award for “Outstanding Support for Historic Preservation.”

First, he has identified and mapped tax delinquent properties in Ohio County. These maps will eventually be available online and will become an extremely valuable resource for developers interested in purchasing and rehabilitating tax-delinquent properties. And second, he has worked with State Sen. Ryan Weld to enact legislation that allows for the digitization of deed records, allowing counties throughout the state to save space usually allocated to hard-bound books and ultimately making records available online.

The “Outstanding Building Renovation” award was presented to Sarah Lydick and her husband Rod of Sarah’s on Main. They were honored for their complete renovation of the former Lebanon Bakery at 2122 Main St., resulting in a cafe and bakery serving breakfast and lunch. Their work with architect Wendy Scatterday restored the original entrance to the building, the interior dining area, and outdoor space.

Lisa Singer, president of the Victorian Old Town Association, accepted the “Outstanding Efforts in Historic Neighborhood Preservation” award on behalf of the neighborhood association. Through activities such as neighborhood cleanup days, historical tours and events, and Christmas lighting and caroling, this North Wheeling group demonstrates how much can be accomplished through collaborative action.

Following dinner and the presentation of awards, representatives from Belmont College spoke to attendees about the college’s building restoration and preservation program. Dave Mertz, Jon Smith and Derrick Smith showed an amazing array of buildings that have benefited from the talented work of students and graduates of the program. They also explained the program’s internship options and shared examples of student work in stained glass, wood, welding and stone.

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