Bath Mayor says historic protections issue will be addressed in new year

by Trish Rudder

At the December 5 Bath Town Council meeting, Mayor Scott Merki said the town elected officials will take up the subject of the Historic Landmarks Commission and the town’s historic designation in January.

“We are working on the SHPO letter,” Merki said of a letter from the State Historic Preservation Office about concerns regarding protections for historic structures.

He said more information from the council will come after the first of the year.

The Town of Bath was notified by an October 16 letter from the  West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History’s Deputy State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)  that the town has 120 days — until February 13, 2024 — to implement improvements to the town’s Certified Local Government (CLG) program or its status could be revoked.

The October 16 letter from Susan M. Pierce, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer to the Bath Town Council members said that 33 property owners and residents within the Town of Bath Historic District had concerns over the local government’s  lack of preservation efforts and commitment to preserving historic resources.

Despite several attempts by The Morgan Messenger to gather more information about the town’s position since late October, Merki has said that he has no comment on the SHPO letter.  The matter has not been on the town’s agenda since the letter was received.