KEYSER - Citing “budget cuts and restraints,” Jennifer E. Orlikoff, president of West Virginia University Potomac State College, has announced that the proposed purchase by the college of several lots in the Fort Ashby Business and Technical Park has been cancelled.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - Citing “budget cuts and restraints,” Jennifer E. Orlikoff, president of West Virginia University Potomac State College, has announced that the proposed purchase by the college of several lots in the Fort Ashby Business and Technical Park has been cancelled.
Orlikoff made the announcement in a letter addressed to the Mineral County Development Authority, which was part of the business discussed at the Tuesday afternoon meeting of that agency.
The college’s interest in obtaining property in the Fort Ashby park began well over a year ago when several representatives spoke to the development authority to show interest in lots in the Fort Ashby park that would allow for agricultural usage of the property.
Len Colelli, then-president of PSC, traveled to Charleston for 2016 Mineral County Day at the Legislature, and made a plea to the state elected officials to assist with the funding for this project.
Outlining what he offered to the senators and delegates was the plan to make the park a place to start an Ag Program, where the onsite building would be a food processing center, with the local grown products distributed to other areas for profit.
Orlikoff said in her letter, however, that state appropriations “to higher education have been dwindling the last several years, which has greatly impacted this decision.”
Kevin Clark, executive director of the development authority, said in speaking to Orlikoff, the possibility of a food hub could still be on the table for the school, but on property already owned by Potomac State.
When this decision by WVUPSC became final, Clark said he contacted a previous prospect interested in acreage in the Fort Ashby Park.
No word is yet known about any business transaction with the prospective business.
In other business, an election of officers took place during the meeting.
Elected as president of the agency was Buck Eagle, who will begin his second term in the office One other candidate had sought the office of president and that was Terry Liller, who formerly served in that capacity.
The other three taken into office were unopposed, and they are incumbent John Lusk, vice president, Shelley Friend, secretary, and incumbent Anne Palmer, treasurer.
The scope of the position of secretary has recently changed to having Ashley Centofonti, assistant to Clark, taking notes during meetings, with those notes sent on to Friend for a preview.
The next step for the minutes will be for Centofonti to make any needed corrections or additions before presenting them to the members prior to the scheduled meetings