RIPLEY - With 39 permanent positions and up to 50 part-time positions the closure of the Cedar Lakes Conference Center would make an immediate impact within Jackson County.
With budget goals looming, The West Virginia Department of Education looks to close the facility and by early summer 2014 only a small maintenance crew could remain in tact.
Over 70 percent of Cedar Lakes budget is payroll based. Maintaining the 300-acre facility has been troublesome to a tight budget. Much of the facility’s full time payroll is based on state school pay and wage scales.
Some state school board members are in favor of cutting over 30 permanent positions and many part time positions.
A recent audit revealed that without support from the legislature that the Cedar Lakes Conference Center would operate at a loss every year.
The 50-year home of the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair has been overseen by the WVDOE since its inaugural year of 1950.
Talks of the facility being overseen by a new agency or on the basis of private donations remain possibilities. A new agency takeover would be a far more likely scenario based on the center’s current status in reference to private donors.
Ripley Mayor Carolyn Rader had a strong message about the situation.
“I feel like the city of Ripley was ambushed and I feel very strongly that our community will stand up and fight for Cedar Lakes, collectively.”
She added, “After 34 years in education, I know what that facility brings to our community. I would be interested to know how many members of the West Virginia Department of Education have ever even visited Cedar Lakes.”
A current full-time CLCC employee declined to speak with the Jackson Herald about the situation.