Bids sought for courthouse restoration work

PARKERSBURG – Wood County commissioners will open sealed bids on June 27 for restoration of stone balusters and railings on the front porches of the courthouse.

Potential bidders can get copies of the specifications for the job in the county administrator’s office between 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday or by request by email to

The bids will be opened during regular session of the commission in room 203 of the courthouse at 11 a.m. June 27. All bids must be received no later than 10:30 a.m. June 27.

Wood County has been awarded a $28,400 West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Grant grant to restore the original porches that once graced the front of the courthouse. The courthouse was completed in 1899 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The courthouse took nearly two years to complete at a cost of $100,000.

“The original porch railings were apparently removed during the 1980s when the restoration was done on the courthouse,” county administrator Marty Seufer said earlier. “All that remains there now are the end pieces, the corner posts on each side and by the wall. The original porches would have been sandstone,” Seufer said. Replacements will probably be made of limestone and will be sealed to prevent erosion.

There are remains of two of three porches. A photo taken at a 1941 war bonds sale held at the front of the courthouse shows people standing on all three of the original porches.

In 2001, the West Virginia Legislature created the courthouse authority to evaluate the needs of the state’s courthouses and estimate potential costs for renovations and repairs. The authority oversees a special revenue account made up of a portion of the fees collected for county services, such as marriage licenses and copying fees for tax maps. Counties can annually apply for the grants. The funding can be used for anything related to courthouses or any other county-owned buildings used for county operations. The maximum grant award is $80,000, and there is a 20 percent required funding local match on each grant.

In other business, commissioners approved renewal of a home consortium agreement with the city of Parkersburg. The agreement is for July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014.

The consortium is expected to receive $293,193 from HOME funds through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Program income is anticipated from the HOME Program in the amount of $25,000 with a total budget of $318,193 for housing activities for the 2013 fiscal year.

Based on anticipated funding, the program proposes $70,000 for owner-occupied housing rehabilitation; $85,000 new construction; $131,374 for the Single Family Housing Opportunity Program, which is a first-time homebuyers program, and $31,319 for general administration of the program, which is handled through the city of Parkersburg.

According to Tim Walker, federal projects administrator with the city of Parkersburg, “Wood County is a part of the consortium and all projects and funding will be made available within the county limits.”

Through the owner-occupied rehab program, low-interest loans are provided to qualified households to bring the family’s structure up to state and local building codes.

“It’s a nice program and should help people,” commission President Wayne Dunn said.

Officials said the program allows residents, who may not normally qualify for a traditional home equity loan, to make improvements to their home. The S.H.O.P. provides low-interest loans for first-time homebuyers and new construction. This program defers payments on 40 percent of the home loan, which gives residents more buying power, officials said.