KEYSER - With the decision by the Keyser City Council Aug. 14 to put the Alkire Mansion up for auction, the Mineral County Historical Foundation put the city on notice Wednesday evening that they are requesting a reimbursement for funds used to renovate the mansion.


By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - With the decision by the Keyser City Council Aug. 14 to put the Alkire Mansion up for auction, the Mineral County Historical Foundation put the city on notice Wednesday evening that they are requesting a reimbursement for funds used to renovate the mansion.
Historical Foundation vice president Frank Roleff presented a letter to the council during their regular meeting Wednesday stating the request.
“We are seeking restitution on money that was spent on the Alkire Mansion to the tune of $10,944,” he said, noting that the figure represents the amount that was spent over and above the $18,600 which was given by the city in an agreement made by the previous administration.
Roleff said the money was given by various individuals and organizations to help with the renovation work because the donors were told the mansion was going to be kept by the city and be used by the community.
“I don’t recall any of that being said,” council member Jennifer Junkins said, noting that she had searched minutes of previous meetings but statements that the building would be maintained for community use “is not stated in anything.
“Whenever they first came in here, they said, ‘We want to restore this, we have volunteers, and we want to see it put to good use,’” she said.
“They said, ‘We don’t want anything out of it.’ So I don’t understand what changed,” she said.
“The city is putting it up for auction,” Roleff replied, to which Junkins added, “To be put to good use.”
Council member William Zacot said although the original discussion had occurred before he took office, he had been in the audience and, “I remember the gentleman saying once they were done then it would go back to the city.”
“But we were assuming the city wouldn’t get rid of it if we restored it and made it a useful facility,” Roleff said.
“What’s better? To let it sit there and do nothing, or sell it to somebody who will put it to goo use?” asked Junkins.
Council member Terry Liller noted that the city’s “main issue was to preserve it, and what we’re doing now represents the best possible chance we’ll have for that to happen.”
Roleff did say if the mansion is sold it would not necessarily be the city that would repay the funds.
“It could be attached to whoever buys it,” he said.
Council member Mike Ryan, who was sitting in for an absent mayor Damon Tillman, said the foundation’s request would be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.