Train Depot renovations stalled; Webster says may be rebid

by Trish Rudder

The lone bidder for the Berkeley Springs Train Depot renovations, Building Systems of Hagerstown, Md., submitted a bid of $299,750  for the interior work inside the historic depot building on the north end of town.

That bid was $77,000 over the budgeted amount of $220,000, Town of Bath Recorder, Susan Webster, said last Friday.

Webster, who chairs the Depot committee, said she has contacted the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH), who administers the project, for direction of how to proceed.

Building Systems wants to arrange a meeting in Berkeley Springs, she said.

“More than likely we will have to rebid,” Webster said.

At the April 5 Town of Bath Council meeting, Webster said she learned that the town’s plan to use the value of the property as grant match for renovation funds can’t be done.

The property, valued at $57,000, was donated to the town. In the past, that kind of donation could be used as a grant match.

“Now it is not usable but nobody told us until a couple of weeks ago,” she said.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved it years ago, and Webster and former Depot chair John McCracken were never told of the change, she said.

“The cost estimate was done a while ago. John McCracken had no idea the property valuation was not usable,” she said.

“More than likely we will have to rebid,” Webster said.

With the budget of $220,000 available, Webster said some work can move forward.

“We can do things,” she said.

Webster said Morgan County Commissioner Bill Clark said earmarks are back and can be used for the general improvement of the trail head and the depot and the depot lot, “and the Morgan County Commission will come up with something, “she said.

In July of 2021, Merki said the reviewing process by the DOH has delayed the project going forward before.

In a Town Council meeting, Merki said that the DOH had caused the town to resubmit the project more than once because if nothing is done on a project within a year, then the paperwork must be updated.

Merki said the project has been held up for the last five years.

“The state did not process it in a timely manner,” McCracken said last year.

Webster had said the town has been working toward renovating the Depot for the last eight years.