Save the Sharp Farm of Pocahontas County
History and heritage in Slatyfork, West Virginia.

Letter to The Pocahontas Times from Ramona Sharp Shipley

Thursday October 5, 2006
The Pocahontas Times

Highlighted in The Pocahontas Times last week was a visit by our County Commissioners, Joel Callison, Reta Griffith and James Carpenter to the marble halls of Washington, DC. Their mission was to lobby for an extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Act which has been supplying some seven hundred thousand dollars each year, 5% of the Board of Education budget.

Now, if they would just make the shorter trip to the West Virginia State House there is an excellent chance they could perform a still more financially significant feat. That is, they could request a state grant to ease the county burden of providing an acceptably located new sewage disposal plant to serve Snowshoe and the area on down to Slaty Fork.

Despite being marginally less costly to use, the initially proposed Sharp farm location right on a scenic highway is looking more and more untenable from engineering, environmental, aesthetic, piscatorial, touristic and preservationist standpoints. Also, it would involve requisition of Sharp land by invoking "right of eminent domain." There are limitations to this right that make it a questionable legal procedure in this case and certainly an unpopular one.

There is a suitable alternative site that lies up a side road from the Sharp site. It is out of sight, on stable sandstone strata instead of unstable limestone Karst subject to sudden appearances of sink holes, etc. It is on government owned land and private inquiries lead to the belief that if officially requested it could be obtained at no cost. Improving access might increase project costs as much as 10%. But why not seek grant money as, or if necessary to avoid chance of a catastrophic disaster at worst or 50 years of sad results, recriminations and regrets at best.

Ramona Sharp Shipley
Slaty Fork
Hilton Head Island SC