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Five sites considered for new state office complex; none downt

by Nora Edinger

REGIONAL EDITOR

CLARKSBURG -- None of five locations under consideration for Harrison County's new state office complex are in downtown Clarksburg.

Most sites are located near the intersection of Interstate 79 and Meadowbrook Road in Bridgeport.

State Department of Administration officials said Thursday that Department of Health and Human Resources and State Police officials will tour their potential new homes on Monday.

Sen. Joseph Minard, D-Harrison, termed the move "disappointing."

Minard is one of several area politicians who fought to keep the health services office in downtown Clarksburg, where it is located now. He said downtown was preferable because it had good public transportation and was closer to the office's client base.

Also, city officials have said relocating the office would hurt the downtown business climate.

The county's current State Police detachment is already located near Meadowbrook Mall.

Tammy Goad, spokeswoman for the Department of Administration's Leasing Division, said Clarksburg was the state's preferred location. However, no downtown sites met state criteria, she said.

"The properties we got for that site (downtown) were limited," Goad said of criteria such as accessibility, no mine-subsidence issues and ready-to-build condition.

She said a site will be announced by early December, and the state hopes to begin construction on the two-building complex by summer.

No construction cost estimate is available, Goad said. Land price is also unknown, as the proposals varied from $50,000 to $400,000 per acre. The state needs between six and eight acres.

Here is a quick look at the finalists:

n The Folio family of Clarksburg is offering a site behind the Phar-Mor store at Meadowbrook Mall. It is located in Bridgeport city limits.

Kathy Folio, a former Clarksburg City Council member, believes the site is a good one because there is already access to public transportation at the mall.

n James Cava Sr. of Clarksburg has a site just outside Clarksburg city limits that he would like to see annexed. Called Simpson Meadowlands, it is located on Meadowbrook Road between Meadowbrook Mall and Pete Dye Golf Club.

He believes his site is preferable because of easier access related to the widening of Meadowbrook Road to four lanes.

n A third site is owned by Genesis Partners, developers of the Charles Pointe planned community that is being annexed by Bridgeport.

James Corton, managing partner, said the site may or may not be in Charles Pointe. Genesis Partners owns property in several locations, although none of it is in downtown Clarksburg, he noted.

n Also under consideration are another Meadowbrook Road property owned by Fresa Development and land at an undetermined site owned by Arbor Oaks Ventures of Guildland Center, N.Y.

No further information was available about these properties by deadline on Thursday.

Regional Editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at nedinger@exponent-telegram.com.

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