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Waldo Hotel awarded funding for revitalization

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

The Waldo Hotel in Clarksburg is just one of the projects slated to receive money from a $4.9 million grant, earmarked by Congressman Alan B. Mollohan, D-W.Va., to provide historic revitalization.

The purpose of the grant is to turn aging West Virginia buildings into focal points of community and economic development, Mollohan said.

Approximately $3.9 million will be used by the Vandalia Heritage Foundation for its projects in the northern part of the state.

Those projects include the Adaland Mansion in Barbour County; the B&O Station in Taylor County; Cottrill's Opera House in Tucker County; Carskadon Mansion in Mineral County; Arthurdale, McGrew House and Preston Academy in Preston County; and a historic property in Wheeling.

The remaining money will go toward the renovation of the Metropolitan Theatre in Morgantown.

"Many of them once served as centerpieces of their communities, but through neglect they've often become modern-day liabilities," Mollohan added.

"The funding that I have set aside will help to restore them as community assets; as facilities that serve modern needs and spur new activity in our local economies," he said.

Last fall, Mollohan placed the money in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2001 spending bill. HUD officials recently gave final approval for the funding and released it for use.

The Waldo Hotel project is just in the beginning stages, said Laura Kuhns, executive director of the Vandalia Heritage Foundation.

"The next 10 to 12 months we will continue planning and hopefully we'll come out with a plan to be implemented," Kuhns said. "We'll look to see if the market can bear a downtown hotel, and we won't know the answer until we do a study."

Kuhns said the Waldo is in an excellent location and has attractive architecture, which are both assets.

"It's a gateway to Glen Elk and there's a lot of potential there," she said. "Our goal is to breathe life into it for economic revitalization in downtown."

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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