Parkersburg City Council Votes Sale of Old Farmer’s Market Building | News, Sports, Jobs

Parkersburg-Wood County Visitors and Convention Bureau Chairman and CEO Mark Lewis spoke to Parkersburg City Council on Tuesday about plans for the former Farmers’ Market building at 113 Ann St. The building will become the new CVB headquarters as well as a visitor center. CVB is also looking to bring a kayak / bike rental business to the property. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg city council on Tuesday passed the first reading of an ordinance to sell the old Farmers’ Market building to the Parkersburg-Wood County Convention and Visitors Bureau for its new location.

Council voted 7-1 at its Tuesday night meeting to approve the sale of the property at 113 Ann Street for $ 260,000, with only councilor JR Carpenter voting against.

Councilor Jess Cottrille was absent from the meeting.

CVB President and CEO Mark Lewis addressed the board ahead of the vote on what he envisioned for the future of the building in helping tourism in the region. The location is between the Blennerhassett Museum and the Point Park docks where visitors board paddle steamers to Blennerhassett Island, one of the area’s most visited tourist attractions.

“By being there in this building, we will be able to attract people, reach them while they are here and try to convince them to spend more money” Lewis said. “We can tell them about all the other things they might not have heard of that they haven’t thought of visiting this time around and encourage customers to come back.”

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce addressed Parkersburg City Council at Tuesday’s meeting. Council approved the sale of the old Farmers’ Market building near the flood wall to the Parkersburg-Wood County Visitors and Convention Bureau. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

The CVB will be able to educate visitors about other attractions in the area, local restaurants, shops, accommodations and more, he said, adding that they will also have a dedicated parking lot, behind the desks building. coaches bringing people to visit the island.

The office may discuss with the people bringing these tours to see if they may be of interest to them in other sites and possibly extend their stay or be a destination for a future visit.

The building will be transformed into a visitor center with the CVB offices. They are also looking to set up a kayak / bike rental business in the building and are also considering a gift shop, Lewis said.

They will also have space available for events like the Chili Cookoff Chamber and for the use of Downtown PKB and others.

“We are going to be good neighbors and allow access”, Lewis said.

This meeting was the last meeting of Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin, who will be retiring soon. The mayor and city officials thanked him for his years of service to the city, crowned with a standing ovation. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

Carpenter said he was in favor of everything Lewis said, but that he would prefer the city to keep ownership of the property and lease it to CVB for as long as they want. He talked about all of the taxpayers’ money, approximately $ 700,000, that has been invested in the building.

“I think it could be accomplished a lot cheaper with a rental contract”, he said.

Lewis said the rental option was pursued a few years ago and the CVB was more interested in owning the building. He said they will work hard to get the building ready by the time Blennerhassett Island opens for the summer season in 2022.

“I just don’t know how we would accommodate (a rental agreement)”, he said.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said on Tuesday this was the last council meeting of Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin as chief as he is expected to retire soon.

“Joe Martin served as Chief of Police for 12 years and will have over 24 years of service when he retires” said the mayor. “He has respect for the community, respect for the police and he really took our police service… to a new level with our national certification and training standards.

“He has been a mentor to hundreds of officers, not just in our department, but in Wood County and West Virginia.”

Martin has served as president of the West Virginia Police Chief Association and served on task forces with local, state, and federal ties.

“He has done wonderful things in his career and I want to thank him for his service. Joyce said. “We will miss you.”

Everyone present gave Martin a standing ovation.

Council approved a budget revision for a one-time payment of $ 1,000 to full-time municipal employees and $ 500 for part-time service during the COVID pandemic. Elected officials are excluded.

“Our employees… worked under difficult circumstances”, said City Councilor Bob Mercer. “I wanted to say thank you to the managers and every employee in the City of Parkersburg for not giving up and for moving forward.”

City Councilor Sharon Kuhl said it was the city’s department heads and every employee who kept the city from shutting down.

“They all gave 1000%” she said.

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James V. Payne