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Don’t Give Up On Old Building

Barnesville taxpayers already have nearly $180,000 invested in the Bohandy Building, an old, relatively large structure in the village’s downtown. But that money was sunk into the building at a time when officials thought they had an occupant for it.

At least for now, they do not, it was learned a few days ago.

For months, it had been hoped the building would be leased by WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital. Though the hospital remains independent, it has a management agreement with WVU Medicine.

Village officials spent $150,000 to buy the building in May 2018. One idea then was that saving the building could provide an anchor for revitalization of downtown Barnesville.

In December of that year, the possibility of a deal with the hospital was discussed. Then, last November, another potential use for the structure, as an eight-bed addiction recovery facility, was broached.

It appears none of that will happen, at least not in the foreseeable future.

In addition to the purchase price, village officials had to spend about $28,000 last summer for emergency repairs to the building. What to do with that investment, quite significant for Barnesville, needs to be determined.

Clearly, at some point village officials need to cut their losses — but that time has not arrived yet.

For most of the time the village has owned the Bohandy Building, it was anticipated a deal could be worked out for its use as some type of health care facility. Knowledge that no longer is in the cards frees Barnesville officials to seek other parties willing to lease or possibly buy the structure.

Barnesville is well-positioned to capitalize on construction of an ethane cracker plant proposed for the riverfront area of Belmont County, possibly as a bedroom community for people working there or at associated manufacturing facilities. That is just one possibility for the Bohandy Building.

So, while village officials should avoid spending any more money on the building, they should not give up on it. It could yet prove to be a wise investment.

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