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Several Panhandle grants make the cut in W.Va.

August 13, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Five projects from the Eastern Panhandle are still being considered for $200 million of state grant money, including requests to build a second Jefferson County high school, restore the Martinsburg Roundhouse complex and build a terminal at Eastern Regional Airport.

After a four-hour meeting Monday night, the state Economic Development Grant Committee agreed to consider 66 proposals totaling $410 million out of 195 requests received.

Fourteen projects from the Panhandle were submitted.

The other two Panhandle projects still being considered are $5.8 million needed to build a regional business park along the Berkeley/Jefferson County line and $280,000 PROSystems Inc. in Jefferson County requested for a new manufacturing facility.

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No projects from Morgan County made the cut.

The biggest project from the Panhandle involves $15 million that the Jefferson County Board of Education requested to build another high school. The current school on Flowing Springs Road serves all 10th- through 12th-graders in Jefferson County.

The second-largest project involves $6.8 million the Roundhouse Authority requested to restore the historic complex, build a pedestrian bridge from the train station to the complex and build a vehicular access bridge across Queen Street, said Clarence "CEM" Martin III, Roundhouse Authority chairman.

Money would also be used to renovate Martin Street and finish restoring the old hotel above the train station, among other projects.

If the Roundhouse becomes the national and international tourist destination Martin hopes for, he said 700 to 900 jobs could be created.

Eastern Regional Airport officials requested $1 million.

Tax and Revenue Secretary Brian Kastick, the committee chairman, said he hopes to award most of the grants by the end of the month and distribute the money by the end of the year.

The following Panhandle projects are no longer being considered: $4 million the Boarman Arts Center in Martinsburg requested; $7.4 million the Berkeley County Public Service District requested for an upgraded water system; $1 million the Berkeley County Commission requested to help convert the former Blue Ridge Outlet Center into a judicial center; $400,000 Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation requested to expand their indoor facility; $1.25 million the Town of Bath requested to upgrade water lines; $1.8 million Summit Point Automotive Research Center, LLC in Jefferson County requested to expand; $32.9 million the Berkeley County Public Service District requested to build a new wastewater treatment plant; $3 million the Morgan County Commission requested to build a science and technology park; and $2.1 million the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin in Jefferson County requested for a science and technology center.

As for the remaining projects, committee members plan to hold hearings around the state to gauge public opinion.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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