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Waste Watch: Millions spent on historical home that now sits empty

Jenkins Plantation.jpg

In a special Waste Watch segment, Eyewitness News takes a look at how millions were spent to restore a historic house which now sits boarded up and empty.

So, what went wrong?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers obtained the historic Jenkins house and land, located near the Cabell-Mason County line along Route 2 in Green Bottom, back in 1986, as part of the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam Project.

Following years where the corps leased the building out to state agencies, including the Division of Natural Resources and Division of Culture and History, then-Congressman Nick Rahall crafted legislation ordering the Corps of Engineers to preserve and restore the structure, along with associated buildings and landscape.

And that's when things really got expensive.

According to information provided by the corps, $3 million was spent between 2008 and 2012 fixing up the four-room house which was built in 1840.

About $1 million of that total went to an archeological and site survey, before a single nail was driven or any other work started on the building itself.

The corps spent the $3 million fixing, among other things, windows, the roof and water problems which home inspectors said were created by a lack of proper maintenance and the installation of incorrect materials, all since the building was purchased by the Corps of Engineers.

When the money ran out, the corps mothballed the Jenkins house, and it now sits empty and unused.

"Unfortunately, this house now is really just a shadow of itself," Ned Jones, with the Greenbottom Society, said. "If you look at it, that's the main part of the house. But back then, there were actually three buildings there. You had to the right, you had a kitchen. And to the left you had another room that was another building that was an office. And the corps was supposed to do all of that. And if you look around in Cabell County, the most expensive house that's ever sold that's been on public record is not more than a million, $400,000. And this is what you get from the Corps of Engineers for four million dollars."

There are some troubling aspects to this story. One of them is the public has no idea how much money the army corps of engineers has spent on the Jenkins house since 1986.

The $3 million dollars is just a starting point.


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