By Stephen Smoot
The Pendleton County Commission had a light agenda for its second meeting in the month of March, but issued key decisions for local organizations.
As always, Commissioner Roger Dahmer opened the meeting with prayer, sharing that “we thank You that you’ve entrusted us with this responsibility.”
Carl Hevener, county commission president, addressed the South Fork Volunteer Fire Department’s previous request for help in obtaining an all-terrain vehicle. Pendleton County’s rugged terrain and the sometimes difficult roads used to access remote locations make search and rescue, as well as other operations, challenging.
The SFVFD reported that the vehicle would be used mostly on Reddish Knob, Shenandoah Mountain, and other federal lands in the area,
Department representatives explained in a previous meeting that some roads cannot accommodate pickup trucks and rescue vehicles. When ATVs are needed, volunteer firefighters who own them have to return home to obtain their personal equipment for use in the field. This could add hours to resolving emergency scenarios.
Hevener said, “We have approved $21,000 for all the other ones.” He then asked for a motion to provide $21,000 for South Fork VFD to help purchase an ATV.
Commissioners also considered an ask from the Treasure Mountain Festival Association. It includes their yearly request to use the community building, the parking lot, and area in front of the courthouse. The only concern raised surrounded the as of yet unscheduled construction for the courthouse annex.
Diane Mitchell, Pendleton County 911 director, reported that recent snow removal efforts at the combined 911 office and state police barracks left too much salt. She reported that “the State Police had the fire department hose it down. It was bad.” Rick Gillespie, Pendleton County emergency services coordinator, added that “salt just destroys parking lots.”
Another parking lot sparked discussion during the meeting as well. As work crews dug into the community building parking lot to install a conduit for the facility’s new generator, it was discovered that no gravel underlay the pavement, at least in that section of the lot. This could be one of the likely sources for its deterioration.
Finally, Laura Brown, Pendleton County economic development director, reminded the county commission of the business roundtable meeting planned for March 29 at the Lodestar Mountain Inn in Upper Tract.
According to the EDA’s Facebook page, the roundtable will feature Ryan Thorne from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development, the county broadband engineering team, and Thrasher Group, Inc.