KEYSER - As the debate continues over the future of the Alkire Mansion, Keyser mayor Damon Tillman announced at the last Keyser City Council meeting that two separate entities were planning to meet with city officials to discuss the property.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - As the debate continues over the future of the Alkire Mansion, Keyser mayor Damon Tillman announced at the last Keyser City Council meeting that two separate entities were planning to meet with city officials to discuss the property.
“They are two very prominent groups that are interested and wanting to look at it,” he said, adding that the city would “entertain their ideas.”
Should the city decide to sell the property and not turn it over to the Mineral County Historical Foundation, however, the foundation would like to have their money back.
“We’re not ruling anything out; we’ll sit down and talk about things thoroughly and see what we want to do,” Tillman said during the July 10 council meeting.
Council member Terry Liller noted that the interest by the two groups in the property had just recently come up, and, “Once we’re allowed to talk about it publicly, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.”
The future of the Alkire Mansion has been a topic of discussion for several months now, since Tillman announced that a business had been interested in buying it and a portion of the Mill Meadow Park around it.
Concerned that the structure would be torn down, Frank Roleff of the Mineral County Historical Foundation offered at one point to take the mansion over, renovate it, and turn it into a center for community use.
Tillman has not been amenable to that offer, however, expressing the opinion that the city should benefit in some way from the property.
Roleff told the officials at their July 10 meeting that the foundation had offered to take the mansion over so that it would not be demolished.
“Our main concern is that the building is preserved and restored so it can have some function,” he said. “If whoever buys it abides by those stipulations, we don’t have any problem with it.”
Roleff did tell Tillman, however, that the Historical Foundation had put additional money into the work that has already been done at the mansion.
“Over and above the $18,600 (which the city supplied), we have about $10,000 in that property,” he said.
“We discussed the possibility of being reimbursed that money” if the mansion is sold to someone else, he added.
“So you’re saying you would ask the city for that money back?” Tillman asked. “Now that the city’s not going to give it to you, you’re wanting your money back?”
“We had people who were willing to donate the money,” Roleff said. “The agreement was that the city would retain the building and come up with some useful function for it.
“I guess we (donated the money) on blind faith,” he said.
City administrator Buck Eagle said any decision made about the mansion “would have to be blessed by the council.”
Tillman declined to name the entities interested in the property.