By August 7, 2014 Read More →

McDowell County teacher housing plans advance

Bluefield Daily Telegraph photo by Eric DiNovo Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers speaks during a press conference in Welch Wednesday. Officials with Reconnecting McDowell announced during the event that the Reconnecting McDowell board voted Wednesday morning to demolish the long-abondoned Best Furniture and Katzen buildings in Welch. In place of the buildings, an apartment complex for teachers and other professionals will be constructed.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph photo by Eric DiNovo
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers speaks during a press conference in Welch Wednesday. Officials with Reconnecting McDowell announced during the event that the Reconnecting McDowell board voted Wednesday morning to demolish the long-abondoned Best Furniture and Katzen buildings in Welch. In place of the buildings, an apartment complex for teachers and other professionals will be constructed.

WELCH, W.Va. — Officials gathered Wednesday to announce the Reconnecting McDowell Board’s decision to demolish the Best Furniture and Katzen buildings on Wyoming Street and replace them with the “Renaissance Village” apartment building.

“We have a fantastic teacher core, many of whom have been in the county a long time, but there’s also tremendous turnover,” President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten said, “If you want teachers to be part of the community you have to have affordable housing, and so we’ve spent the last year trying to figure out if that’s doable or possible.”

Weingarten said the board wants to construct a 24 to 30 unit building with one and two bedroom options for $500 to $600 per month rent.

“It will cost between $3 and $5 million to do the construction including all the permit work, the demolition work, and other work,” Weingarten said. “There are a bunch of loans and grants that we can get and we are also committed to doing the rest of it through a fundraiser.”

Mayor of Welch Reba Honaker said it might be difficult to attract teachers, but it is possible.

“I think once we get them here, we can hold them and show them McDowell County and the city of Welch and our school system,” Honaker said. “The love of the people here in McDowell County (will keep teachers here)…

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