Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 23, 2014

Officials consider options

Princeton City Council to discuss moving offices to donated property

PRINCETON — Princeton residents have an opportunity Friday evening to hear a proposal to sell a former bank to a community college and move Princeton’s city offices into a former business.

The Princeton City Council and the Princeton Building Commission will have a joint public meeting 6 p.m. Friday in the city municipal building at 100 Courthouse Road, City Manager Elke Doom said. The city acquired the former First Community Bank Building on Mercer Street in 2012 with plans for turning it into the new municipal building and sharing the space with a community college.

“New River Community and Technical College, they are coming before the building commission, and they would like to discuss the option or possibility of them acquiring the bank building as the permanent home of a Mercer County-Princeton campus,” Doom said.

 Work that has been done on the building already needed to be done regardless of whether the city and the bank shared it, Doom said.

“There are the upgrades to the heating and cooling, and the electrical,” she stated. “That’s needed to bring the building up to code.”

One option for the city is to accept a donated property, the former Dean Company location near Stafford Drive, Doom said. The owner, Richard Preservati, has offered to donate the property to the city.

The property includes a building with approximately 10,000 square feet of office and warehouse space with a 34-acre parcel of land, she said. The concept is to turn the property into a municipal complex with recreational opportunities.

“It should be a very interesting meeting,” Doom said. “The business people are very excited at the thought of the college coming downtown. The influx of students could do far more for the downtown than we could for revitalization, which makes this such an interesting proposition.”

Mayor Patricia Wilson said the city council was split about whether to accept the proposal.

“Personally, I do not think it’s a good idea. I think we need to look at every scenario that is possible, and before we sell what we have, we need to do a due diligent study to see what the other prospect will cost.”

“Another thing, we promised the people of Princeton that we would be downtown, and I think we have strived for that end, and we had a lease agreement in place for the college to go in with us,” she said. “And I feel that is where we need to be as a city council, and I feel our offices should be downtown.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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