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  1. MIP ‘strategically located’ to Attract businesses

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    The Morgantown Industrial Park (MIP) is preparing for expansion, and with expansion, owners hope to bring jobs into the area.

    “We think we’re strategically located and will be an attractive place for someone looking to build and to come into north-central West Virginia,” said Glenn Adrian co-owner of Enrout Properties, which owns MIP.

    MIP is more than 500 acres in total. Currently, most of the development is concentrated on the east-ern part of the park. During the past year, MIP has worked with the Monongalia County Commission, Morgantown Area Partnership and the City of Westover in hopes of expanding the western side of the park.

    “The proposed development at the industrial park will have a positive impact on not only Westover, it will impact our entire county,” said Dave Johnson, mayor of Westover.

    To fuel this expansion, the park has been working to establish an interchange in what is now known as the Harmony Grove TIF District. The goal of the interchange is to spur additional development within the park by giving better access to the interstate.

    Adrian said the recent approval of the establishment of a new TIF district, or tax increment financing district, by the Monongalia County Commission has been a big step for MIP. He said this will allow MIP to move forward with West Virginia development offices in terms of getting approval for expansion of infrastructure and roads.

    As MIP looks to create direct access to the inter-state, it also continues to bring new business to the area. Adrian said MIP will announce plans to add a manufacturing facility to the area within the next 30 days in conjunction with local and state officials.

    He said because of COVID-19 as well as job loss following the announcement to close down Mylan Pharmaceuticals, bringing jobs to the area is vital.

    “I think this is some-thing that has been a wake-up call for not only Mon County, but north-central West Virginia,” he said. “Jobs are important and these are blue-collar type manufacturing jobs —well paying jobs — with benefits and things of that nature.”

    Currently, businesses located in MIP are mainly located along the Monongahela River. This includes the SI group, WVU commercial laundry facility, Central Supply Co. and a Republic Services transfer station. Garrick Electric Co., Black Diamond Equipment Rental and others also have locations on site.

    Part of what draws businesses to MIP is that it is equipped to barge products in and out, as well as rail products in and out. These two abilities, along with looking toward access to the interstate, will make MIP a desirable location for manufacturing and distribution companies.

    Adrian said significant studies are required before establishing an inter-change becomes possible. These include looking at the interchange’s geometric design, studying traffic in the area and looking at environmental impact, including anything from noise pollution to impact on waterways.

    MIP is in the midst of conducting these studies with Thrasher Engineer-ing. Once complete, the studies will help determine the feasibility of an inter-change with the West Vir-ginia Department of High-ways and the Federal High-way Administration.

    “Really what we’re hop-ing to generate is the avail-ability of industrial sites that, with the new inter-change, would attract other types of manufactur-ing, distribution centers, things of that nature,” Adrian said.

     

    WRITTEN BY GABRIELLA BROWN

    GBrown@DominionPost.com

     

     

  2. 8,000 Jobs Added Within Past Decade in North Central WV

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    North Central West Virginia continues to lead the state in economic progress, according to local experts.

    Although many other areas of the Mountain State lag behind national averages in most major economic indicators, the North Central region has continued to thrive and grow, according to John Deskins, director of the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

    “North Central West Virginia is more stable than the nation, it seems. Or, at least, the patterns of the last couple of decades have indicated we have greater stability,” Deskins said. “The region’s economy is very resilient. Part of that depends on the fact that we have some really important federal employment in the region; we have the university in the region; and we have a lot of health care in the region. Those sectors of the economy tend to be really stable,” he said.

    The Bureau of Business and Economic Research recently released a study analyzing the NCWV region’s economy over the past few years and looking ahead to expected economic performance through 2023, Deskins said. Businesses in Monongalia, Marion, Harrison and Preston counties added more than 8,000 jobs between early-2010 and mid-2018, resulting in cumulative growth of more than 7 percent, according to the study.

    In Harrison County, many of the new jobs can be attributed to rebounding natural gas production and natural gas pipeline infrastructure under construction, Deskins said. “That’s actually something that’s creating benefits in other counties in the state as well, not just the North Central region,” he said. “But definitely the construction projects that have been going on have definitely helped employment and a whole host of economic measures here in North Central.,” he said. “There is lots of stuff going on with the pipeline construction. That’s in Harrison County, and it’s affecting other parts of our region, as well.”

    Sherry Rogers, executive director of the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce, said Lewis County has also experienced positive economic gains over the last year, mainly due to increased natural gas pipeline construction in the area. “There are some businesses that have seen an increase in their revenues due to the pipeline and the influx of pipeliners coming to the area and staying in the area,” she said. “Our retail and our restaurants have seen an increase due to that.” Several new businesses have recently opened their doors in and around Weston, Rogers said. “Here in Lewis County we have thriving entrepreneurship,” she said. “We’re comprised mostly of small businesses and we have some exciting new businesses that have opened that have opened this year or are opening.”

    These include a retail shop in downtown Weston, a newly opened restaurant and a distillery, MannCave Distillery, Rodgers said. Patricia Henderson, director of the Taylor County Development Authority, said her county’s economy remains stable, partially do to continued coal mining activity. “Right now we are similar with the other areas in the state,” she said. “We do have a coal mine here, and that’s certainly helping us. Leer Mine still producing and moving a lot of coal through the railroad.” The county hopes to attract more oil and gas related companies to settle in the Taylor County area, Henderson said.

    “We are trying to attract new businesses, and like all the other counties throughout the state, we are trying to recruit some of the oil and gas into our county,” she said. “In 2018, we had some property that the development authority marketed, and we did have an oil and gas company purchase that property to build some of their field offices. So we’re excited about that. That is a three-year plan.”

    Taylor County recently became the recipient of a grant that will be used to perform a broadband internet study, Henderson said. “One of the problems that we hear a lot is the fact that we don’t have high speed internet in a lot of the areas of our county,” she said. “So we’ve got a grant to do a study that will help us to asses our needs and see where our underserved and unserved areas are so we can identify them. Then we can potentially go after some federal funds to help with that.”

     

    Article By: Charles Young, WV News