Princeton city leaders in building debate - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Princeton city leaders in building debate

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PRINCETON (WVVA) -

Two buildings at opposite ends of Bee Street in Princeton are stirring controversy in city government.

At issue is where to re-locate city offices.

For the past couple years the City of Princeton has been getting the former First Community Bank building ready to move city offices.

But last September a Princeton businessman offered to give the city a warehouse and property, and that has apparently thrown a wrench into plans to move city hall.

Princeton city leaders say a warehouse and property could be theirs, provided they move all city offices to the location.

"How do you turn down what is probably a $10-million gift and it just makes sense you wouldn't walk away from that," says Princeton City Councilman Dewey Russell.

While Mayor Patricia Wilson appreciates the gift, she believes the city can't afford to invest the money needed renovate the structure, estimating the cost could be in the millions of dollars.

"Council chambers would have to be built.  Ceilings would have to be lowered. Bays would have to be built for the fire station, bedrooms and kitchens," says Mayor Wilson.

Mayor Wilson says many of the renovations have already been done at the former First Community Bank building, adding that accepting the gift would mean starting the process over and further delaying the move of city hall.

"Trying to get contracts to build out the building.  What is it going to cost us?  Getting the financing established to go forward with it down there.  We're looking at several more years of trying to make that happen versus we are ready to go into the bank building now," says Mayor Wilson.

Councilman Russell believes accepting the gift and putting some money in it will be an investment that will pay off in the future.

"That's going to be a donation to us. Then we would have to incur some debt to upgrade it. We probably or should very well could have less debt that what we have at the bank building," says Councilman Russell.

Mayor Wilson says council will have to vote on whether of not to accept the property at a regular council meeting.

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