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Possibility of barge facility has residents worried

BURLINGTON - The idea of more barges traveling the river has some Burlington residents worried - and they are asking neighboring residents for support.

"It would destroy the atmosphere that we want," Burlington resident Don Saunders said.

Huntington Marine Services has filed a permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a barge facility to clean, repair and store barges. The facility could hold up to 200 barges.

The proposed facility would be located on the West Virginia side of the Ohio River around the area of Twelve Pole Creek, which is near Camden Park. The permit would allow the company to come down the other side of Twelve Pole, adjacent to Westmoreland, W.Va., which means that this will effect residents of Burlington and Chesapeake.

The Westmoreland Neighborhood Association met Tuesday to discuss the proposal, which many residents are angry about, Saunders said. He said the residents from West Virginia do not want the facility and they complained of the lights and noise.

Saunders said he totally opposes the project and that he and other local residents are concerned about The Commons, the playground and picnic area in Burlington - what the additional barges would do to the atmosphere of the park area. The Commons area, Saunders said is also historic since it was once the county seat.

"Anything like this would downgrade the atmosphere," he said of more barges in the area.

The Concerned Citizens of the Burlington Area will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Sybene Senior Center in Burlington where they will address this issue.

Saunders said that residents have until Aug. 13 to write letters, comments, etc. to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and they are asking for everyone's help.

"I expect a good crowd this Thursday to do what we can to help West Virginia," he said. "It's bad enough in our area and we do not want to make it worse. We want to get the word out."

Saunders said that the groups is asking residents from Burlington, Chesapeake and surrounding areas to attend the meeting on Thursday and work together.