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167th credit union signs on at W.Va. business park

August 31, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The first building to be constructed in Tabler Station Business Park is expected to be a new branch office for the 167th TFR Federal Credit Union, Berkeley County Development Authority executive director Bob Crawford announced Wednesday.

"We are in business for the long haul," Credit Union CEO Lynn M. Haynes said in a news release issued by Crawford.

"Every decision made, every dollar of capital spent is done with longevity in mind. We constantly strive for the future, as today is taken care of. This new location was a perfect fit to the credit union's mission," Haynes said.

Credit union executives purchased a two-acre parcel in the business park that borders U.S. 11, Crawford said. The financial institution paid $200,000 for the land, which is part of the 326-acre Criswell farm property the Development Authority purchased in 2004.

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Haynes said the location was chosen because of its close proximity to its original home at West Virginia Air National Guard Base at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport and offers even more convenience to members on the south side of Martinsburg. Founded in 1959 by West Virginia Air National Guard members of the Tactical Fighter Reserve unit, the credit union now is headquartered at 1945 Edwin Miller Boulevard in northern Martinsburg. The new branch could open sometime next spring, Haynes said.

Berkeley County leaders in July allocated $200,000 in tax revenue generated by coal mined in West Virginia to keep the economic development project financially afloat.

The Development Authority borrowed $3 million from a consortium of nine local banks to help purchase the land for commercial development, Crawford said Wednesday. The purchase totaled $4.1 million.

The expected construction of the bank office in the coming months will help draw attention to the Business Park, which has yet to be made fully accessible.

"The only other readily accessible lots are along U.S. 11," Crawford said.

The Development Authority received a $1.2 million federal economic development grant for a road and other infrastructure improvements in the western half of the property, which is between Interstate 81, the Tabler Station Road exit and the airport, Crawford said.

Last year, A&S Warehouse purchased two acres along Tabler Station Road for additional parking and Crawford said the Development Authority also has a contract with another business for 10 acres.

The Berkeley County Commission has signed a contract to purchase 8.6 acres for an emergency services facility, but that project still is being designed, officials have said.

In an appeal to the Commission for financial assistance, Crawford said officials expected the property to sell more quickly because of its prominent location.

The sales of two parcels bordering U.S. 11 were abandoned by reasons beyond the Development Authority's control, Crawford said. One prospective investor nixed a purchase because he failed to meet professional qualifications required to operate a certain type of business in West Virginia.

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