As Bent Mountain Community Center gets set for revamp, some question source of funds

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BENT MOUNTAIN Va (WDBJ7) For more than a century, this building has been the center of life here on Bent Mountain. But time has taken its toll.

"The roof is old, it has a number of leaks," said Richard Caywood, the Assistant Roanoke County Administrator. "The heating and cooling system hasn't worked or been operational since the school was closed," he added.

It's why Tuesday, the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors approved hundreds of thousands of dollars to help fix up the elementary school-turned-community-center.

However, not everyone is happy with the decision

"Oh dirty money! In so many ways," said pipeline opponent Roberta Bondurant. Dirty, says Bondurant, because of where it's coming from.

"This is fracked gas money," she said.

As the Mountain Valley Pipeline cuts through Bent Mountain, it passes close to three significant historic sites, the Bent Mountain Community Center among them. As a result, MVP must pay up to balance out any damage that might occur.

County officials, like Richard Carwood, say this is a way to get some good from a project many have opposed. "We're trying to lessen the impact to the community," he said.

Carwood also pointed out that if they money didn't go to Roanoke County, it would just end up with another Virginia community.

However, for opponents, it's about taking a moral stand. "At some point, in the same way individuals decide I'm not gonna be part of the fossil fuel economy," said Bondurant. "We're asking our county gov't to begin to consider how we can do that."