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County seeks input on police barracks

by Shawn Gainer

STAFF WRITER

Harrison County Commissioners said Tuesday they want to have input in the search for a new location for the State Police Detachment in Bridgeport.

State Police officials confirmed Monday they are soliciting proposals for construction of a new facility to be located within the Bridgeport area. According to Sgt. Gregg Lemasters, commander of the detachment, the current facility on Meadowbrook Road has outgrown its usefulness.

According to a legal notice published in Monday's Telegram, the state is looking for at least five acres of land but would prefer eight to 12. Among other specifications is that the site must be located within a five-mile radius of I-79 and U.S. Route 50.

Commissioners Roger Diaz and Thomas Keeley said Tuesday they would like the site of the old Adamston Glass plant to be considered.

"That is an area I thought would be prime," Diaz said. "It's close to Route 50 and within five minutes of I-79, and it may also meet their requirements. I think its accessibility is more than adequate."

Keeley said he believes the Adamston site is large enough to meet the state's specifications.

"I think there should be input from the (Harrison County) Planning Commission, the (North Central West Virginia) Law Enforcement Council and ourselves," Keeley added.

Diaz and Keeley signed a letter, dated Tuesday, to Governor Cecil Underwood, in which they asked that the commission and the law enforcement council have input in proposals for potential new sites. County Administrator Jim Harris suggested the City of Clarksburg be included in the process.

Commissioners also said Tuesday they will have to take on the difficult task of locating the graves and trying to match them with the names of an undetermined number of people who died and were buried at the Harrison County poor farm from sometime in the 19th Century until the early 1950s.

According to records available to the commission, the facility dates back to 1858. During its years of operation, the farm covered 100 acres and had a large housing facility, a schoolhouse, a hospital and farm buildings. At some point, the name was changed to the County Infirmary, Keeley said.

Harris said the overwhelming majority of the site was sold to Castle Develop Corp. in 1965. Nine acres of the site, located off U.S. Route 19 south of Clarksburg, was reserved by the county for a 4-H camp.

The situation came to the attention of the commission when an out-of-state resident who believes a relative was buried at the site made inquiries. Diaz and Keeley pledged to do everything they can to help, though they added it may be a difficult undertaking.

"This is going to be a very difficult project to reconstruct given the limited records we have," Diaz said.

Staff Writer Shawn Gainer can be reached at 626-1442 or by e-mail at sgainer@exponent-telegram.com.

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