Charleston church seeks $8 million for Yeager slide damage, mediation to begin

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Yeager Airport officials are expected to begin mediation with representatives at the Keystone Apostolic Church in Charleston this week, following the massive hillside collapse that destroyed the facility earlier this year.

The sliding hillside and water had destroyed Keystone Apostolic Church in March.
The sliding hillside and water had destroyed Keystone Apostolic Church in March.

Church officials are seeking $8 million in compensation, according to a letter the airport received.

Mike Plante, the airport’s spokesman, said he could not discuss the legal proceedings of the upcoming meeting, but did say they are trying their best to accommodate the church’s needs.

“We look forward to getting everybody compensated and back to normal including the church folks and the people that live in the neighborhood,” said Plante.

The March slope failure has resulted in the buy-out of more than a dozen homes and land along Keystone Drive, but Yeager’s insurer, AIG, hasn’t come forward to pay the price. For that reason, Plante said the airport board decided to refinance the parking garage in order to get residents back on their feet.

“It’s (the process) taken too long. We’re frustrated. I know they’re (residents) frustrated,” said Plante. “It was our hope that the insurance company would come in, in other instances, and say ‘okay you’re going to start writing checks tomorrow,’ but that didn’t happen and it hasn’t happened.”

As the airport continues to battle legal issues with the insurance company, pending the settlement of slide-related lawsuits, Plante said the airport continues to put the residents and church community above anything else because they know how much of an inconvenience it has been to them.

“I believe we had 10 or 12 houses that had damage, so from day one, we wanted to get them back whole as quickly as possible,” he said.

Last week, Yeager Airport Executive Director Terry Sayre told MetroNews, “Hopefully, we’ll be able to work something out with the church to access the property to start tearing down those homes.”

Sayre said almost all residents affected by the collapse have housing except one resident who still remains in a hotel.

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