WESTON -- A $750,000 state grant to help Lewis County redevelop the historic Weston Hospital will come with another form of state assistance.
In formally announcing the grant on Friday in Weston, Gov. Cecil Underwood invoked an executive order to form a state task force to help county officials stay within Department of Interior guidelines. As reported earlier this week, the state money was a match to $750,000 Sen. Robert C. Byrd secured from that federal department.
The task force will include four members of the Weston-based hospital revitalization committee, a representative from Byrd's office, and representatives from the state offices of Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Tourism, Governor's Office, Development Office and Division of Culture and History.
"Since we're the only state to be created by the Civil War, it seems to me that that should be one of the possibilities they look at," Underwood said of using the $1.5 million to explore the possibility of turning the extensive hospital building into a national Civil War museum.
Underwood also cited Weston's location at the crossroads of I-79 and Corridor H as an indicator such a development would be economically viable.
County Commission President Bob Conley, speaking on behalf of the county, was pleased with the arrangement.
"Our quest is just beginning," Conley said of the redevelopment. "We must work to preserve the building and put it to good use so that future generations can see it, admire it and appreciate it."
During the granting ceremony on the Lewis courthouse steps, Underwood also presented a check for $50,000 to the director of the county Senior Center to purchase land adjacent to the current building.
Regional editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1403 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.