Putting potable water in homes in Wyoming County is a long, drawn-out process that involves a myriad of local, regional, state and federal agencies.

Applications are pending for several water projects across the county, including Western Wyoming that will provide water to homes in the Hanover area.

Wyoming County Commissioners hope to use R. D. Bailey Lake as the water source, but the U.S. Corps of Engineers does not have the money for a feasibility study — at least in the current budget.

An alternative water source is Gilbert, according to Dave Cole of Region I Planning and Development Council, but there are concerns about whether the plant can provide for the needs of Gilbert as well as the added Hanover area customers.

The plant has serious operation and maintenance problems, Cole said, so R. D. Bailey Lake is a better choice.

Additional concerns are low water tables during drought situations which impacts the quality of the water, Cole explained.

Commissioners also discussed the possibility of acquiring federal grant money for tearing down dilapidated buildings across the county.

“We have a housing shortage,” emphasized Commissioner Harold Hayden. “We have a lot of old houses, sitting on space, that could be torn down and a (new) house built on it. With the prison coming on, we’ve got a squeeze on housing.”

With the number of elderly homeowners living with relatives, Hayden said, many of their homes are also empty.

He added that the vast majority of county property, about 85 percent, is owned by individuals or companies outside the county.

Much of the remaining 15 percent lies in the flood plain, he said. Another 125 home sites were mitigated after the 2001 flood and cannot have permanent structures built upon the sites.

Cole said Gov. Joe Manchin is giving priority to water and sewer projects and there were no grants awarded for spot demolition projects last year.

It is not advisable to put applications for water projects, economic development, as well as spot demolition in front of the state agency awarding the grants, Cole said.

The county has torn down about “half-a-dozen old trailers,” Commissioner Silas Mullins noted, and prompted some companies and individuals to clean up their properties.

“It’s slow, but we’ll get it — one step at a time,” Mullins said of cleaning up the county.

In other business, Hannah Ellison of Cyclone asked for the commission’s help in getting a new bridge to the three homes behind the post office.

She said fire trucks and ambulances can’t cross the deteriorating bridge, nor can utility trucks to change outdoor street lights or those that could pump the septic tanks of homeowners.

Dean Meadows, county Emergency Services director, explained how to begin the application process for getting a new bridge, but he cautioned the county has had no such help from the state since Gov. Cecil Underwood’s administration.

Additionally, commissioners also discussed the possibility of adding much-needed storage for the courthouse.

“We have zero storage,” emphasized Commissioner Sam Muscari. “It’s obvious our paper problem is not going to slow down.”

Commissioners are looking at remodeling the annex, tearing down an adjacent house, then erect a storage facility as well as create additional parking.

They hope to obtain grant funding to help with the cost of the project.

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