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Federal project falls through in Jefferson County

February 10, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - An attempt by local economic development officials to lure a "significant federal project" to the Eastern Panhandle has failed, a Jefferson County official said Thursday.

Last year, officials who were working on the project said they were working to lure a federal project to 187 acres near the Berkeley and Jefferson county line.

The operation was described as a "very significant federal project" and would offer high tech jobs that were "unparalleled" in West Virginia, economic development officials said.

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If the federal project would have come to fruition at the site, local developer Ken Lowe and officials with F.O. Day Co., which owned the property, would have built the facility and leased it to the entity, Lowe said at the time.

Local officials said they were unable to provide more details about the project.

Jane Peters, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority, told the Jefferson County Commission Thursday that the effort to lure the project to the F.O. Day property was not successful.

Peters said she is not sure if a final decision has been made, but she thinks the project will be moved into an existing building rather than building a new facility.

Peters said the project involved the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, but she could not go into more detail.

Although the Eastern Panhandle is not being considered for that project, there are two similar projects that the property could be used for, Peters said.

"It's just one of those things," Peters said, referring to the initial project. "It's a great piece of property."

The land, which is behind the West Virginia University Experiment Farm along W.Va. 9, has been considered for different uses over the years.

In the mid-1990s, the land was considered for a controversial rock quarry that was never developed. About three years ago, local economic development officials applied for a grant from the state Economic Development Grant Committee to develop an industrial park on the land, but the grant was turned down.

The county commission agreed to rezone the property from agriculture to commercial industrial use in an attempt to lure the project to the site.

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