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Pitches made for grant money

A panel heard requests for funding from those in favor of 10 projects, including five in Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

A panel heard requests for funding from those in favor of 10 projects, including five in Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

September 05, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Three members of the state Economic Development Grant Committee listened Wednesday night to comments from those in favor of 10 projects competing for $200 million of grant money, including five in Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

The hearing lasted for more than three hours at the Holiday Inn. Committee Chairman Brian Kastick, Mallie Combs from Hardy County and Bernard P. Twigg from Marshall County attended.

By the time those in favor of the $15 million proposal to build a second high school in Jefferson County were heard, the crowd of around 150 had dwindled somewhat. It was the last proposal discussed.

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Most told committee members that despite what some say, education is tied directly to economic development.

Jefferson County has one high school; Berkeley County has three. Building a second high school in Jefferson County will create a better-educated work force that will in turn attract business and create a bigger tax base, most speakers agreed.

The school, which Del. John Doyle said will cost $30 million to build, will have a science and technology center. Once the new school is built, the existing high school will be remodeled to include the same type of center.

"New jobs equal economic strength," Schools Superintendent R. Steven Nichols said. "This project means future jobs, period."

As of 10:30 p.m., nobody had spoken against the high school project.

Earlier in the night, nobody spoke against any of the other proposals also up for consideration in Jefferson and Berkeley counties. They include:

  • $6.8 million needed to refurbish the B&O Roundhouse complex and adjacent downtown areas.

  • $5.8 million needed for a business park on 308 acres off W.Va. 9 on the Berkeley-Jefferson county line.

  • $1 million that Eastern Regional Airport officials need to build a new terminal.

  • $250,000 that a technology company named PROSystems Inc. needs to build a facility in the Burr Industrial Park in Jefferson County.



New information was announced concerning the roundhouse project. Roundhouse Authority Chairman Clarence E. "CEM" Martin III said a satellite location of the nation's main national Army museum may be incorporated into the Roundhouse complex.

It could display tanks, aircraft, artillery and other Army artifacts, according to an Army official who spoke.

Committee members did not make any comments or give any indication that they favored one project over another. Written comments can still be submitted to the state tax office in Charleston, W.Va., within 10 days.

It was unknown when the committee's final funding decisions will be announced.

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