Beaver, W.Va. (May 2, 2023) – The Raleigh County Memorial Airport, with guidance from the
New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) and Region 1 Planning and
Development Council, has accepted a $7,729,959.00 bid from A.L.L. Construction, Inc., of
Mount Storm, W.Va., to conduct site development for the new 105-acre industrial project at
the Raleigh County Memorial Airport. The project, which has the potential to be a major
aviation and economic development hub for southern West Virginia, is estimated to take nearly
a year to complete. After the NRGRDA’s acceptance of the bid April 27, site preparations began
on May 1.
Jina Belcher, NRGRDA Executive Director, said this project is a model for the state as the first
proactive site readiness initiative. “This is one of the most complex yet rewarding projects
we’ve led,” said Belcher. “Many people and funding programs came together in a positive way
to make it possible.” This past state legislative session, an economic development site readiness
program and funding was put in place, making future projects easier to develop and adding to
the state’s job creation assets.
Belcher listed major developments to heighten progress on the development of the Raleigh
County Memorial Airport, including:
The Raleigh County Commission, in a special meeting March 14, approved a special
allocation of $544,000 to complete the funding for the project.
Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced February 27 a $1 million
grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to expand the airport terminal to
accommodate a 50 seat hold room, accessible restrooms, and several sustainable design
concepts to promote energy efficiency.
Progress continues on the aviation maintenance training program led by New River
Community and Technical College, including a training hangar to be located adjacent to
Local, state and federal leaders jointly announced on February 4, 2021, the last piece of
financing for the $8.3 million project – a $1.75 million grant from the U.S. Department
of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).
Additional major funding awards include Infrastructure Jobs Development Council
(IJDC) funding from the State of West Virginia ($3,239,000), Appalachian Regional
Commission funding ($1.75 million) and U.S. Economic Development Administration
($1.75 million) will add land, a new road connecting the airport to rail transportation,
and new sites for interested companies.
Other sources of funding bring the total investment in this project to $8,379,000:
Raleigh County Commission – $535,000
Appalachian Power – $200,000
Pendleton Community Bank – $1 million interim project financing
Raleigh County Memorial Airport – Federal Aviation Administration – $75,000
Raleigh County Memorial Airport – $535,000
Belcher said bids for the airport industrial park site work opened on February 23 coming in
slightly higher than expected, making the Raleigh County Commission’s special allocation
“essential to the project’s ability to move forward on time and on budget.”
“The airport is poised for a major influx of new businesses and increased air travel thanks to the
leadership of our long-time airport manager Tom Cochran and the infusion of multiple sources
of funding to create site-ready land to recruit aerospace and cargo firms,” said Belcher.
“Raleigh County Memorial Airport is blessed with ample land and infrastructure to attract
aerospace industry businesses to southern West Virginia,” Belcher added. “The airport is
located three miles east of Beckley and about 30 minutes from the Virginia border, offering
daily commercial flights as well as private and charter options. In addition, RCMA is open 24
hours a day, employs 12 people, features two runways and two industrial parks, and is located
near three interstate highways. The airport is only one mile from the convergence of I-64 and I-
77, and one hour from I-81.”
Belcher added that the region, which is home to West Virginia Institute of Technology and New
River Community and Technical College, offers two- and four-year academic programs as well
as an abundant labor supply for companies seeking new or expanded facilities. She said, “these
training and education opportunities were part of the reason we were awarded the AEROReady
Community Certification, enhancing workforce potential in seven counties.” Those counties
include Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, Nicholas, Wyoming, Mercer, and McDowell.
About Raleigh County Memorial Airport: The Raleigh County Memorial Airport is an important
component to Beckley and the greater Raleigh County infrastructure. The facilities offer
competitive commercial transportation opportunities and affordable options for private pilots.
With Contour Airlines offering daily flights to and from Charlotte, N.C.’s Douglass International
Airport (CLT), RCMA is a viable air travel solution. Within the airport fence, there are 160 acres
of available property for hangar development with road access, all utilities, and direct access to
the runway. The airport’s East and West Industrial Parks are an important resource for local
business development, offering more than 250 acres of commercial properties ready for
development. Website: http://flybeckley.com/
About New River Gorge Regional Development Authority: The New River Gorge Regional
Development Authority’s (NRGRDA) mission is to initiate, facilitate and support the economic
and community development efforts within the counties of Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh, and
Summers located in this region of southern West Virginia. NRGRDA stimulates the regional
economy through business expansion and retention efforts, including an extensive portfolio of
financial services; the management of sites for new companies locating to our region; and
serving as a point of access for local service providers which offer a variety of technical
assistance for business owners. Website: https://nrgrda.org/