Greenbrier Commission approves payment for broadband project, green lights Andrew Lewis Park restoration

By Matthew Young, RealWV

LEWISBURG, W.Va. – The Greenbrier County Commission, on Tuesday, approved a payment request in the amount of $290,500 to Thompson & Litton, for “planning and technical services” associated with the Greenbrier County GigReady Broadband project. 

As explained by Commission President Tammy Tincher, “This is for engineering, pole permits, easements, and encroachment acquisitions.”

“The considerable amount is [for] a percentage of the engineering for the project, which is moving along very well,” Tincher added. 

Upon its completion, the GigReady Broadband project is expected to provide broadband access throughout the entirety of Greenbrier County. 

The next item on the commission’s agenda was consideration of a $1,531.25 payment to Greenbrier County Public Service District (PSD) #2, for legal services associated with the county’s western-end water line extension project. 

“As with the broadband project, it (water line extension project) is moving forward very well,” Tincher said. “We’ve gotten engineering completed, we’ve just received funding approval for a request that was put in for $3.5 million from the Drinking Water Authority, and we will begin getting everything permitted and the project moving forward here in the coming months.”

Prior to approving the payment, Commissioner Lowell Rose noted that, “I’ve heard a few rumors going around, and I want to let everybody know that the project is still alive.”

“They’re (PSD #2) still taking sign ups if anybody lives from the top of Muddy Creek Mountain, out to Asbury, and back to the interstate at Sam Black,” Rose added, “As well as Charmco to Rainelle. If you haven’t signed up and you do want to sign up, you can go to the PSD #2 in Rainelle and still do that.”

PSD #2 is located at 405 S. Sewell Street in Rainelle. They can be reached at 304-438-8943.

The final item before the commission was a proposal from the Greenbrier County Historical Society for the restoration of the Andrew Lewis Park and the Lewis Spring House, both of which are located in downtown Lewisburg.

On-hand to discuss the proposal was Al Emch, president of the Historical Society. 

According to Emch, the Lewis Spring is “lonely” and “alone.”

“We want to change that,” Emch said. “The Lewis Spring, in our estimation, is the crown jewel of Lewisburg. It’s the crown jewel in the State of West Virginia. It really is a crown jewel in the founding history of this nation.”

The spring, Emch explained, was discovered by the Lewis family in 1751. 

“Andrew Lewis is a big deal, and most people don’t know that,” Emch said. “The spring is a big deal, and most people don’t know that. We want to change that too.”

Through a partnership between the Greenbrier County Commission and the Greenbrier County Historical Society, the Andrew Lewis Park was created in 1974, which, according to Emch, “Saved the spring.”

“We want you to join with us to save it again in 2024,” Emch said.

In January, Emch explained, the Historical Society became aware of a grant opportunity available through the National Parks Service. If approved, the grant could potentially fund the restoration project up to $750,000. 

“The Greenbrier Historical Society cannot do this without the help and the consent of the owner of the land and the structure, and that of course is […] the County Commission,” Emch said. “So I’m here to ask you to please join with us in this effort.”

To apply for the funding, as Emch stated, the commission’s consent is required. 

“As the owner, we ask your consent,” Emch said. “We’re not asking for money – right now. You can expect to see us, if you approve this, when the Arts and Recreation grants process begins for this year, we will probably ask for money to fund the Historic Structures Report that we’ll want to do first (before beginning the restoration project).”

“That would be a relatively small amount of money,” Emch added. “$20,000 or so. […] Just warning you. No commitments are necessary at this point.”

A concern raised by Tincher was in regards to parking. 

“As all of you know, we’re maxed out on any type of parking in our town,” Tincher said, adding that any designs would need to be conscious of that restriction. 

Commissioners showed preliminary support for the project by granting their consent for the grant application to be submitted. 

The next Regular Meeting of the Greenbrier County Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12, at 10 a.m.

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