Almost $4 Million in Federal Funding Headed to Weirton, Beech Bottom

WEIRTON — Almost $4 million worth of federal funds will help rehabilitate the former Wheeling Corrugating plant at Beech Bottom and expand the Three Springs Business Park in Weirton.

Local and federal officials, including U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and U.S. Rep. David McKinley, both R-W.Va., gathered at Three Springs Drive in Weirton to announce the funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Capito announced the funding, saying it takes a vision and hard work to bring growth to an area which has witnessed so many job losses during the last few decades.

“Sometimes, it’s tough to reach the finish line,” Capito said, adding she is proud to be able to partner with the local officials to attract investment and growth.

Among the grants announced Monday was $1.2 million to the city of Weirton for the expansion of the Three Springs Business Park, which Capito said is estimated to spur $5 million in private investment and create 500 jobs.

The project, covering 72 acres of land, will include 18 parcels for an initial set of four retail buildings and a planned conference and event center at a total project cost of $2.3 million. According to City Manager Travis Blosser, groundbreaking for the new roads in the park is set for late July, with construction of the conference center set to begin later in the year.

“City council and the mayor launched this project,” Blosser said, noting discussions on the conference center began in April 2016.

Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, said construction of the retail buildings will begin within the same timeframe, and the solicitation of tenants already has begun.

Also announced was $2.6 million to the BDC for the continued rehabilitation of the Beech Bottom Industrial Park at the former Wheeling Corrugating Plant, supporting existing and future business needs. This project is expected to bring in $1 million in private investment, while creating or retaining 115 jobs.

“Brooke and Hancock counties represent enormous potential,” Capito said, calling it an exciting day. “Not only are you creating something for the present, but also something for the future.”

McKinley agreed, adding he has been in contact with many residents and businesses in recent years who have expressed hope for the future of the Upper Ohio Valley.

“There’s a sense of optimism,” McKinley said. “I haven’t felt that in a few years.”

Weirton Mayor Harold Miller said the grant is the latest effort to boost the city’s economy.

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,” he said. “This is a catalyst for a project that will spur growth for years to come.”

A grant of $1.2 million also went to the Rahall Business and Technology Center in Greenbrier County in southern West Virginia. Though U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., did not attend the announcement, he offered words of encouragement.

“These public-private partnerships are the key to business expansion and diversifying our economy. I’m glad the city of Weirton, Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corp. are receiving this funding to better their communities,” Manchin said.

By:  Craig Howell
Source: Wheeling Intelligencer