BECKLEY, W.Va. — Preservation, development, community and government agencies have banded together to preserve an apartment complex in the Raleigh County coal camp community of Helen for future generations. The project could serve as a model for preservation groups across the state.
David Rotenizer, Raleigh County extension agent, said the apartment building was marked for demolition as a dilapidated and abandoned property by the county, but losing the buildings might have prevented the town from being considered as a future historic district on the National Register.
The former owner agreed to sign the property over to We Grow: Winding Gulf Restoration Organization for assistance in paying off back taxes. In December the county commission agreed to pay back taxes and transferred the property to the local group.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the project is that groups like National Coal Heritage Highway Authority, Department of Environmental Protection, Raleigh County Commission, Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority, Mountain State Leaders Program, Preservation Alliance of West Virginia and the WVU Extension Service are all working together to make sure this structure from the past has the chance for a future.
During the weekend of April 11, agencies and volunteers will work to clean trash from the structure and secure the property through a process called “architectural mothballing…