In the next couple of months, the National Guard Armory in Elkins, as we know it, will close its doors. It may not be for long though.
This week, Delegate Bill Hartman, D-Randolph, and Randolph County commissioners discussed possibilities for the building's future. The plan in place focuses on a Request For Proposal for a feasibility study on the redevelopment of the structure being prepared by Randolph County Development Authority Executive Director Robbie Morris. The cost for that study will be shared by the Development Authority, County Commission, city of Elkins and the Mountain State Forest Festival. The Randolph County Board of Education will be invited to join next week.
The cost for maintaining the facility, Hartman said, is $45,000 a year. The entire 8-acre property has been appraised at $1 million, and Hartman says he expects it would bring "much, much less than that" if it were sold outright. While there is no information available on any repairs needed or whether there are considerations for renovations, we think the building's value to the community would be tremendous.
For decades it's been the site of a myriad of events including the Distinguished Guest Dinner, the Holly Ball, car and home shows, basketball games and even funerals. The new Armed Forces Reserve Center near Norton is projected to fill the role of a civic center in addition to its intended purpose as a military complex. Still, the community could certainly make use of another facility - the National Guard Armory for other events.
It will be interesting to see what ideas the area agencies generate, how they work together and what the future holds for what we've come to know as simply "the armory."