Beaver, WV – (WWNR) – Ground was broken Monday on a proposed industrial park at the Raleigh County Memorial Airport.
The 105 acre, multi-million dollar site is expected to attract companies with the potential to bring more than 600 new jobs to the area.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin was joined by state and local lawmakers and economic development leaders, including Jina Belcher, Executive Director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority.
“This is a really huge day for us to finally see all of the work that’s gone into this, this collaboration and really see the dirt moving and see the earth starting to be, you know, flat and site ready.”
“We’re gonna continue over the next eight months to move the site forward and so we will complete that project in about eight months is when all of the 105 acres of property will be ready.”
“But right now we are actively marketing the sites for recruitment, so we’re working with the West Virginia Development Office and other partners, our utility providers, to be able to market these sites to aerospace companies, both domestic and foreign to be able to locate in the region.”
“There is no other site ready property in the state of West Virginia. So to be able to have that tells the company, hey, we’re ready to start working, ready to build a building very quickly and start working and start manufacturing and producing on that site very quickly.”
“And that’s huge because before you would have to wait for a prospect or a company to come before you could build out that infrastructure. And so having it ready just means that we’re going to expedite that job creation and expedite that revenue to the county.”
Local, state and federal financing contributed to the $10.4 million economic development project. Senator Manchin says the expansion will provide local businesses with access to new markets and attract new businesses to the area.
“This is the only park in West Virginia where a corporation can have their corporate office and their business offices and have their corporate aircraft and their hangar beside it to be able to travel anywhere in the world they need to go to in the country and come back to home base.”
“West Virginia is not the easiest place to build because we don’t have that much flat land. We’re a rural state. Our entire state is an Appalachian region, so we’re rural. So you only have a few airports that are able to accommodate. So you have Clarksburg, North Central. You have Wheeling, which is a large airport. We have Martinsburg over in eastern Canaan. You have Charleston, you have Huntington, and then you have Beckley. Beckley is the only one we have in this location that can handle this amount of traffic, commercial traffic, and also industrial traffic. That’s what makes this so unique.”
Also speaking at Monday’s ceremony were representatives for U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito and Congresswoman Carol Miller, Heather Vanatter with American Electric Power, West Virginia Secretary of Economic Development Mitch Carmichael and former Raleigh County Airport manager Tom Cochran.