A meeting was held on Friday, February 16 to discuss the future possibilities and plans moving forward for the former Davis Center complex. “We are at the stage where we wanted to get everybody back together to talk about other possibilities and to start talking with the state about leasing,” Tucker Community Foundation Executive Director Rob Burns said.
Representatives from a number of local and state agencies involved in the project to varying degrees attended. West Virginia Department of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel was also present.
Tucker Community Foundation is spearheading the project by organizing all the moveable parts. The foundation recently applied for the Acid Mine Lands Grant to help support the project but was not awarded the funds. “That was a pie in the sky for this project, but that doesn’t mean we can’t carry through the project with other funding that we have,” Burns said.
Woodlands Development Group is working on the design aspect of the project with Tucker Community Foundation. Woodlands recently brought an architect to the site to assess the work necessary for potential leasees. The architect estimated a cost of $750,000 to outfit both of the center’s buildings, which total 16,000 square feet.
The Division of Natural Resources owns the property. “As far as the leasing part of it, I don’t think that is going to be a problem as long as we’re leasing it to another government entity or agency,” McDaniel said. He commented that the Division of Natural Resources is able to lease the property for a dollar per square foot.
As the meeting progressed, the Tucker County Development Authority seemed to be the favored entity to hold the master lease on the property. The Development Authority would then lease the property out to other groups.
St. George Medical Clinic indicated their interest in developing a wellness center in one of the Davis Center’s buildings.
Representatives from Mountain Laurel Learning Center expressed interest in securing space in the complex. The learning center would potentially lease the education building of the center. “If this is going to move forward, there’s only so much space, so these partnership issues need to be brought to closure quite quickly,” the learning cooperative’s Executive Director Aimee Verdisco said.
The Family Resource Network would like to expand their services to Davis and is considering the center as a vehicle to do so. Although not in attendance for the meeting, the National Guard previously expressed interest in renting space as well.
The next step in moving forward is deciding who will hold the master lease for the center. The next Tucker County Development Authority meeting is on March 8 at 6 p.m. at the Cottrill Opera House in Thomas.