Bluefield Daily Telegraph Editorial: Good News

Funding approved for important projects

The federal funding floodgates have been opened in recent weeks with millions of dollars being awarded for local projects of great importance. The bulk of that funding will go toward infrastructure improvement and tourism and economic development projects in southern West Virginia. 

Those federal funding awards announced or recommended for approval, include:

• U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., traveled to Mercer County last week to deliver a $1 million federal Economic Development Administration award for the development of 12 to 15 acres of shovel-ready land near Interstate 77 Exit 1 in Bluefield. That award will be matched by $1 million in local funding.

• Capito also announced a $1.8 million Appalachian Regional Commission grant award that will be utilized by the Wood Resources Center at Exit 14, near Gardner. Mercer County Economic Development Director John O’Neal said the center, which already has tools and equipment related to the wood industry, will be repurposed to help small-business creation and growth.

• Gov. Jim Justice announced last week that he is recommending a Transportation Alternatives Grant Award of $4.1 million to the McDowell Public Service District to provide sewer service to 115 homes in Ashland and Crumpler, and to support expansion of Hatfield-McCoy Trail lodging businesses. The governor also is recommending a $238,000 grant award to upgrade the PSD’s Berwind Water Treatment Plant to modernize water treatment and increase capacity for Berwind Lake Park.

• Justice also announced that he is recommending a $2,278,500 grant to Ashland Resort Tourism Development for the expansion of the existing Hatfield-McCoy Trail amenities such as cabins, ATV facilities, a camp store, outdoor entertainment complex, and reclamation of abandoned coal mine features.

• Justice also said he is recommending a $1 million grant to the Iaeger Regional Sewer Project, which will provide sewer service to 112 customers and allow for growth of Hatfield-McCoy Trail related lodging.

• Justice also announced a $1.5 million award to the town of Bradshaw for the rehabilitation of the town’s sanitary sewer system.

• Justice also said the Bluestone River Water Trail Group will receive $150,000 in federal funding as part of a Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails program grant. This is for the design of a hiking trail with river access along Brush Creek from the community of Gardner to the Bluestone National Scenic River, on to Pipestem State Park and along Camp Creek to Camp Creek State Park, all within Mercer County.

• Justice also announced the town of Athens will receive $48,126 in federal funding to design and construct a walking trail within the Athens Town Park.

Great. These are all welcomed projects for the region that will enhance tourism and economic development opportunities. In addition, the infrastructure improvement projects will help to ensure that families living in the deep south counties have access to clean drinking water and modern waste water treatment facilities.


Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph