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Manchin visit to focus on economic development

September 04, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is scheduled to visit the Eastern Panhandle on Tuesday, and economic development will be the focus of his tour.

Officials said Friday the governor's tour will begin at Summit Point Motorsports Park in Jefferson County, where StaSIS Engineering, an automotive performance-enhancing company, is moving from California.

Manchin and StaSIS Engineering President Paul Lambert are expected to make remarks during a program that will begin at 10 a.m., according to a news release.

The governor is scheduled to eat lunch in Shepherdstown and take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Shepherdstown's $1.4 million streetscape project.

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At 2 p.m., Manchin is to be in Martinsburg to recognize the late Bruce Van Wyk, a prominent Berkeley County developer, in a bridge-naming ceremony at the Holiday Inn, according to Mary Jo Brown, the governor's Eastern Panhandle representative.

While in Shepherdstown, Manchin is expected to meet privately with Shepherd University President Suzanne Shipley and members of her administration, Brown said.

During the program at Summit Point, rides in StaSIS-engineered vehicles will be offered, according to a news release. STaSIS is expected to employ 20 people at the motorsports park by the end of the year, Todd Cope, the company's chief financial officer, said in an interview Friday.

Cope said a 20,000-square-foot facility for the company's corporate headquarters and operations shoulc be completed by the end of 2010.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Shepherdstown's streetscape project will be at the intersection of King and German streets at 1 p.m., Mayor Jim Auxer said Friday.

Hank Willard, who played a leading role on a committee formed to advance the streetscape project, said Friday he hoped Manchin would agree that the town's restorative approach to improving sidewalks, curbs and landscaping along German Street was money well spent.

"I think it's a great credit to the town," said Willard, who will be out of town when Manchin visits. "I hope the governor will feel likewise."

Most of the project's funding came from a federal transportation grant program administered by the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Willard said. The town used gaming proceeds generated at Charles Town Races & Slots to match the federal funds, Willard said.

"There were some true hazards that existed ... up and down the street," Willard said.

In Martinsburg, the bridge to be named in memory of Van Wyk takes West King Street over Interstate 81 at Exit 13 and connects with Tuscarora Pike, officials said.

The naming of the span in memory of Van Wyk, who died on Christmas Day 2003, was made possible by the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 13 in the regular session of the State Legislature earlier this year, according to the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.

State Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson, who chairs the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, was the resolution's lead sponsor.

The resolution recognizes Van Wyk for developing Honeywood on the Potomac in Falling Waters, W.Va., among other projects, which included the Foxcroft Avenue commercial development between I-81 exits 12 and 13.

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