Beckley hole after fire - We're close to seeing something new - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Beckley hole after fire - We're close to seeing something new

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People in Southern West Virginia are discussing what's next after flames ripped through the center of one city.

A year and a half later, decisions on what's next for Uptown Beckley are still causing controversy. On Wednesday, 59News spoke with Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh as well as citizens of the community.

The mayor told us they're still far away from building something new, but Pugh said they're closer than they've ever been. Mayor Pugh said he's talked to John Mize, the owner of half the property that burnt down, but he said the issue continues to be at a standstill.

Tuesday night's council meeting discussed if the city wanted to pursue buying the property from Mize. The mayor said the next step is having the city attorney sit down with him to see what price he's looking for.

Pugh told 59News the appraisal of Mize's property is between $42-43,000. So how much has the city offered Mize?

"I made him an offer of $50,000 for his property which is contingent upon the approval of common council," the Beckley mayor said.

There's another option the city can offer Mize.

"The city can use "eminent domain" as long as it's for a public purpose such as parking and green space. Eminent domain is where the city takes possession of a piece of property that's in the public interest or for the public good," Pugh told us.

59News stopped by John Mize's office, and although he wasn't available, the sign taped to his office door spoke for itself.

Two simple words said it all. Posted on John Mize's office door read a poster with the words "eminent domain" crossed out in red. Even though it might be a while before anything new comes of the hole, the citizens of Beckley know what they'd like to see in it's place.

"I think it would be nice for the children to have a nice little playground Uptown," Beckley resident Kristen Scalf told us.

"I think it should be a park for the children because there's a lot of people who walk around with their children and they could eat at the park and they should put a water fountain for them to play on as well," Amy Hylton of Beckley said.

Mize's secretary told 59News he's out of town for the next few days. We will follow up with him when he returns next week and share with you his plans.

Stay with 59News on air and online as we keep you up to date with the city attorney's meeting with John Mize.