The town of Clendenin wants to annex two properties just south of its existing limits on Elk River Road.
One is the future site of Clendenin Elementary School, which will be built off U.S. 119 near Wolverton Mountain Road. The other is the site of a new boat ramp near the school site on the Elk River.
The proposed annexation would include the section of U.S. 119/Elk River Road from its existing limit south to the boat ramp, but it would not include private homes or businesses along the way.
“We’re only taking the school property ... and the boat ramp. We have not gone to any of the personal homes or any of that,” Clendenin Mayor Kay Summers said.
Clendenin passed an ordinance approving the annexation. The Kanawha County Commission will have a public hearing about the annexation at its meeting Thursday. If approved, the town’s limits will officially change as of the county commission’s order.
The Kanawha County Board of Education, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, which built the boat ramp, and the state Department of Transportation have written letters supporting the annexation.
Having the school within town limits would allow it to have town services, such as police protection and traffic control, as well as trash pick-up.
“We’ll be there after school to block traffic ... on U.S. 119,” Summers said. “Or if they have an issue on the boat ramp that needs police protection, we’ll go there. If they need police up on the hill, we’ll go there. And, before, it would have been that they would have to call Kanawha County.”
Tom Williams, superintendent of Kanawha County Schools, said that, in addition to benefiting from town services, the school system sees value in the school being a part of the Clendenin community overall.
The town will benefit from business and occupation tax from vendors at the school, Summers said.
The new school will replace the old Clendenin Elementary School, a century-old structure that stood inside town limits and was damaged in the 2016 flood.
Summers said the new $30.7 million school is a rare bright spot for the town to come from the devastating flood.
“I don’t want people to think I’m happy it flooded, but I think we need to look at positives from negatives,” Summers said. “I think we need to look at the bright side that, at the end of the day, we’re going to have a brand new, state-of-the-art school in the town of Clendenin.
“That is going to welcome new people. That’s going to welcome people to come and want to come to our area,” she said.
The DNR asked the town to annex the boat ramp, which it built earlier this year, said Zach Brown, assistant chief of operations with the wildlife resources section the agency.
The division has a boat ramp on the north end of Clendenin and is working with the town to design another one in the middle of town, Brown said.
The agency typically looks for partners to help with operational maintenance and costs associated with mowing grass and picking up the trash, Brown said.
“Having a local police force that’s able to help us with patrol really makes the site better and makes it more for its intended use and reduces what I like to call alternative uses — non-intended uses [of the boat ramp],” Brown said. “Sometimes, if areas are out of the way, they can become problems. Having a local sponsor, having local buy-in, we find, makes a much better access point.”
Andrew Gunnoe, deputy county manager and assistant county attorney for the Kanawha County Commission, said that, because the town approved an annexation by ordinance under West Virginia code 8-6-4, which allows municipalities to annex territory without an election in certain circumstances, the county’s responsibility is ministerial in accepting the application and entering an order setting the new town limits.
Commission President Kent Carper said there does not appear to be any legal reason not to support the annexation.
“Unless I’m missing something, I will in all likelihood support this,” Carper said.