Growing concern among Wheeling residents over cost of proposed Public Safety Building

Local News

WHEELING, W.Va (WTRF) — New numbers regarding the cost of the proposed Public Safety Building for the City of Wheeling is igniting questions from residents, specifically regarding the validity of its selling price.

The property under consideration was previously assessed for roughly $40,000, according to Bob Herron, City Manager, Wheeling.

Now, the city and the owner of the vacant industrial property being considered on 19th St. have settled on a purchasing price, of more than $500,000.

Herron, told 7News these numbers are “misleading” because the assessed value is not always an accurate depiction of a property’s appraised value.

“If we were to do an arms-length appraisal on that property… it would be significantly more than that. I do know, that there are other parcels in the general area that have a much lower assessed value that have a higher appraised value,” said Herron.

According to Herron, the $500,000 asking price is not final. The city is currently doing its due diligence to vet the property and determine that the price is right and whether or not the property is worth purchasing.

Who pays for the new public safety structure if the purchase gets approved? Anybody who works in the city would pay two dollars every week for the next 20 to 25 years. This includes people who work in tax-exempt buildings like hospitals, universities, and federal buildings.

Herron says the city is in desperate need of a new public safety space.

The fire department has been housed in a parking structure on the market street since 1977, according to Herron. Meanwhile, the police department lacks some of the most basic necessities needed to perform its daily civic duties. This includes, sufficient interview rooms, evidence storage, employee space or women’s locker room, said, Herron.

Herron said this will likely go before council within the next couple of months and a public hearing is expected shortly after.

Overall, this new public safety building at the 19th St. site will cost an estimated $14.5 million, according to Herron.

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