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Council discusses monument concerns

A former Belington Convention and Visitors Bureau official came before Belington City Council Thursday with her concerns about a proposed Laurel Hill Battlefield Park monument.

Lynne Snyder, the former vice president of the Belington CVB, took exception to comments made by Councilman Max Grove following the Feb. 2 Belington Council meeting, which were published in an article in The Inter-Mountain that week.

Grove presented a design for the proposed monument on Feb. 2. The council approved it and planned to submit the plan to AES, the company which built the new wind farm project on Laurel Mountain.

“Originally, someone in the CVB requested $275,000 in damages for ruining the aesthetics (of the battlefield with windmills),” Grove told The Inter-Mountain on Feb. 2. “The CVB was going to buy some property and build a visitors center. And AES came back and said, ‘Instead of that, we’ll give you $4,000.'”

“I am that ‘someone’ and I did my homework,” Snyder told council Thursday.

She stated that she met with AES representative Barry Sweitzer in March 2009 and requested the company fund a monument to honor the soldiers interred at Laurel Hill.

“This was a one-time opportunity to ask for mitigation funding,” Snyder said.

A design for the monument was then created by Bryan Brothers Memorial in Philippi, and AES presented $4,000 to the Belington CVB in the fall of 2010, Snyder said.

Snyder said she was upset that “the money has not been used for the purpose” of building a monument, and that “it has been suggested to use for other services.”

She also complained about what she called “erroneous statements” by Grove, and said “this is not the first instance of accusations and harassment by Councilman Grove … these things have to stop.”

After Snyder’s comments, Mayor Jody Haller assured her that “this amount of money is going for that purpose, of the monument.” He said AES was being presented with Grove’s design as a courtesy.

He also said Grove was not “attacking” her by making the comments on Feb. 2, and that the monument issue should not involve “fingerpointing” among the participants.

Haller told Snyder that her work in “getting the ball rolling” on the monument project was appreciated, and that council was now trying to complete the project.

Grove’s monument design features a 6-by-12-foot slab of black granite, on which the names of the Union and Confederate units that took part in the battle would be engraved.

Groves’ proposal also features the construction of a new campfire ring and an extension of the existing pavilion.