Housing Authority “Evicts” Tower Project

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UPDATE The Martinsburg Housing Authority (WV) denied a 100-foot tower request after previously approving a conditional use permit for the project in March. The Herald-Mail Media reported the tower was proposed for a park across from a public housing complex.

Mayor Harriet Johnson confirmed the board would not revisit the unanimous decision against lifting a deed restriction to allow for its construction. The decision comes as a shock to the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation Board, which manages the park and is facing financial hardships due to COVID-19. 

“I was told at [my] first board meeting that it was a done deal,” said Executive Director Allen Corbin of the Parks & Recreation Board, who entered his role in June. “I’m at a loss for what we will do next,” he added, referring to the $21,000 annual revenue the tower was supposed to generate to regularly staff the park’s Gateway Children’s Garden and cover the cost of maintaining the park. 

The Herald-Mail reported that both the city and parks and recreation leaders endorsed the project. However, Corbin believes there was a breakdown in communication between parties. 

Johnson, who also backed the project, tried to rally support from the housing authority board members but failed. “They didn’t want to look out and see the tower in that park,” she said.

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