Capito: Park Service needs “transparency,” some buildings in Thurmond, Prince need to come down

THURMOND, WV (WOAY) – Members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation are paying attention to the National Park Service’s proposed plans to demolish historic but dilapidated buildings in Prince and Thurmond.

WOAY broke news last year that the Park Service plans to demolish multiple buildings in Prince and Thurmond. Those buildings include the Thurmond Ice House and Prince Brothers General Store.

There has been some public pushback against the plan, as Thurmond residents worry about the loss of their history. The West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution this legislative session affirming its support for the preservation of Thurmond’s historic buildings.

Now, members of Congress are getting involved.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito told WOAY in a press call today that her office is getting involved in the proposed project. A representative from her office was at a public input meeting earlier this year.

She acknowledged the need to demolish some of the buildings, but said there needs to be more “transparency.”

“We haven’t had enough transparency by the Park Service, so we’ve been really pushing them on that. It could be a resource issue, too. So again, we’re trying to push more resources there to preserve the history of coal mining because that’s what that national park is really all about from the historical perspective,” she said. “I think there’s a general consensus that some of the buildings… are in such dilapidated shape that they’re a health hazard or a safety hazard to anybody who happens to be in and around them.”

The Park Service says it needs to prioritize its resources and will stabilize and preserve the most historic buildings, including commercial row in Thurmond. Preserving what can be saved is one of Capito’s priorities.

“I do believe, and I think most people in the region would believe, that there are certain structures that need to come down because that will allow us to enhance the ones that are standing and increase the historic value of those,” she said.

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