WILLIAMSON – Long time business owner and civic leader, William “Bill” Rosen, approached the Mingo County Commission at Wednesday’s meeting concerning property taken from him by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The property was bought from him by the corps to build the floodwall surrounding Williamson following the tragic flood that occurred in the area in 1977.
This is not the first time Rosen has approached the commission concerning the property. At the meeting, Rosen had a copy of an article by Kyle Lovern that The Williamson Daily News published on Feb., 2 1992, that mentions Rosen inquiring about purchasing the property.
In the 1992 article, Rosen said, “At the time of the purchase by the corps, I was led to believe by the purchasing agent, that after the floodwall was completed and the contractor left, the corps was to turn over to the commission all remaining property. Also, the original owner would have the option of repurchasing the property at a fair market value.” Rosen repeated this statement again at the meeting on Wednesday.
The property is located on Second Avenue adjacent to the Goodwill Industries store in downtown Williamson. Currently, the property is empty.
The Army Corps of Engineers turned the property over to the Mingo County Commission October 19, 2005.
Rosen would like to purchase the property at a fair market price. He wants to use the property as parking for Goodwill customers.
“My interest is in Williamson. I am trying to help. We don’t want to lose business,” Rosen explained to the commission.
The Mingo County Commission explained that they would have to explore other avenues because it would be illegal to sell Rosen the property. “A county commission cannot sell to an individual or corporation. We would have to have a public auction,” Mingo County Commissioner, Greg “Hootie” Smith explained.
The commission is currently looking at other avenues to help meet Rosen’s request. One potential avenue would be turning the property over to The Redevelopment Authority. The Redevelopment Authority has the power to sell to individuals.
County Commissioner, John Mark Hubbard said, “We are going to have to look in to it to make sure it is fair to the public.”
The commission plans to explore all avenues before making a decision concerning the property. “We will look at all avenues and go from there,” Hubbard said.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)