Preston Commission fields requests for funds

KINGWOOD — Arthurdale Heritage Inc. (AHI) Director Darlene Bolyard gave Preston County commissioners an update on AHI’s arts and heritage program during their Tuesday meeting.

AHI was recently named a 2024 Governor’s Arts Award recipient for its Folk Arts Organization.

Bolyard said eight fiber arts classes impacting 24 individuals have been held this year, and four school programs engaging 342 students were held at West Preston and Bruceton schools, as well as for children in Terra Alta this year.

Bolyard requested $10,000 from the commission to support the arts and heritage program. Commission President Don Smith asked Bolyard to submit a request letter for the funds.

Also discussed was the “Interwoven” exhibition, which focused on history and legacy of fiber arts in Arthurdale. Elizabeth Satterfield, curator and director of education for AHI, said 311 visitors came to the show at Arthurdale Heritage. It was then moved to the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown in February, where 140 visitors saw it. Elements of “Interwoven” will be on display at WVU from March 20-May 12.

AHI’s Heritage Programming includes bi-monthly square dances; an Appalachian concert series in March, September and November; and Appalachian Book Club. Appalachian Voices with Friends of Deckers Creek includes storytelling, music and poetry. Classes like rushed and split reed caning, weaving, foraging and using native plants, and demonstrations such as blacksmithing, weaving, spinning, maple syrup rendering and pressing apple cider are also offered through the historical organization.

Rosemary Bernatowicz and Susan Hardesty from the Society for the Preservation of McGrew House also asked the commissioners for funds.

Bernatowicz said a leak in the roof sent water down to the second floor. The roof was repaired, but she was told it would have to be replaced. Bernatowicz said the estimated cost was between $192,000 and $273,000, depending on the damage to the wood under the roofing.

She said the members of the society were asking for letters of support and approval and permission to have the repairs done. She said she could not give an estimate for a monetary request until she knew exactly how much the project would cost.

In other business, Don Witt, secretary of the Masontown Volunteer Fire Department, asked commissioner for a letter of approval. He said the VFD was in the process of buying a $400,000 fire engine and needed the letter to show the Masontown VFD is a viable and recognized fire department in Preston County. Witt said the VFD is planning to sell its 1997 fire engine.

The Preston County Commission will hold its FY 2024-25 budget work session at 9 a.m. Monday.