KEYSER, W.Va. - Allegheny Mountain House Inc. is scheduled to sign the lease next week for the old Alkire Mansion at Mill Meadow Park.

The historic building, which formerly housed a veterans organization, a church, and even a haunted house, will soon be the home for Allegheny Mountain's first halfway house for recovering alcoholics and drug abusers.

Bill Burt, member of the Allegheny Mountain board, gave an update on renovations of the mansion for the Mineral County commissioners on Tuesday.

"The old Alkire Mansion is beginning to come together piece by piece," he said.

"We still need to raise some money, but we're working on that."

Burt said a recent community picnic raised approximately $1,700 for the project. Altogether, the group has raised approximately $26,000, with $10,000 of that coming from the West Virginia Attorney General's Office as part of the state's Oxycontin settlement.

"We still need about $75,000," he said.

Once finished, the halfway house will serve approximately 19 male clients.

"When we get the men in this house, then we'll go find a house for the ladies," he said.

Once that is established, the organization will look for prospective properties in Grant, Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton counties.

Plans include two houses - one for males and one for females - in each county.

Burt said the facility at the former Alkire Mansion will be known as The Carpenter Shop. The reason for the name, he explained, is twofold.

"Ed Carpenter is doing most of the work and, you know, Jesus was a carpenter," he said.

"By calling it the Carpenter Shop, people who use him as a higher power will be able to turn to him."

Burt thanked the commissioners for their help in making The Carpenter Shop a reality.

"The county commission must have had a hand in this; it didn't just happen," he said.

"You people are fantastic."

Commission President Janice LaRue noted that the move to establish a transitional living facility in Mineral County "has come a long way."

While the commissioners have not yet committed any funding toward the project, she told Burt "we still have it in the back of our minds."

Allegheny Mountain House kind of fell into the Alkire Mansion, which Keyser Mayor Glen "Bunk" Shumaker offered to Burt when he appeared before the Keyser City Council this spring to ask for a monetary donation.

"We don't have the money to fix it up and we can't get a grant to fix it up," Shumaker said of the boarded-up building.

For the token lease of $1 a month, the board at Allegheny Mountain House agreed to do the needed repair work.

Shumaker said the agreement was "a win-win" situation for the city and the agency.

Contact Liz Beavers at lbeavers@times-news.com.

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