KEYSER - Backing off a bit from his earlier comment that the Alkire Mansion “really needs to be knocked down,” Keyser mayor Damon Tillman said during the May 22 Keyser City Council meeting that he would like to find a suitable use for the building.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Backing off a bit from his earlier comment that the Alkire Mansion “really needs to be knocked down,” Keyser mayor Damon Tillman said during the May 22 Keyser City Council meeting that he would like to find a suitable use for the building.
On May 8, Tillman had announced the Potomac Valley Transit Authority had been interested in locating a satellite office in the building, but had since withdrawn their offer.
“It was a win-win situation for Keyser,” he said during last week’s meeting. “It was the PVTA wanting to bring their program to Keyser. It would have benefitted the senior citizens.”
And although the council had approved having Mill Meadow Park surveyed for a possible sale of everything except the “Red” Kitzmiller Field, Tillman said May 22 there would be no survey.
“What we did was try to find a business to come into the area, and we did that,” he said. “We’re trying to make some changes for the betterment of the citizens of Keyser.”
As for the upgrade work with volunteers Leon and Norm Ravenscroft had done to the mansion in the last year, Tillman said they had done “a great job.
“But it’s costing the city and it’s not being used,” he said. “We gave $18,600 (toward the repairs), and we’re not getting anything out of it … it would be stupid for us to go tear something down that we’ve already invested in.
“Knocking it down? That’s not going to  happen,” he said. “But we’re trying to get to where someone will take care of it and maintain it.”
Prior to Tillman’s comments, resident Melanie Minshall had appealed to the officials to keep Mill Meadow as a park.
“It’s an asset to the community,” she said. “I’ve been utilizing the park for the last 10-11 years, and I see other people utilizing it as well … I’ve seen people coming from out of state even, using the trail or just sitting and having lunch.
“The community enjoys going there and it would be a shame to lose that.”
As for the cost of upkeep for the park, Minshall noted that the city manages to maintain the other parks it owns throughout the city.
Tillman said there are other entities interested in the mansion, including a recovery agency.
“We’re trying to get to where someone will take care of it and maintain it,” he said.