Nehlen Makes Pitch For Charles Pointe

The Clarksburg Exponent Telegram

By Shannon Blasser, Regional Writer

MORGANTOWN  Friday, September 6, 2002

As West Virginia University football coach, Don Nehlen got tired of hearing recruits say the state didn't offer opportunities for them after they graduated.

The former coach is trying to do something about that problem and has thrown his support behind a development project in Harrison County. Nehlen was one of a handful of representatives who spoke in favor of the Charles Pointe project (See related story, Page A11) during a state Economic Development Grant Committee public hearing in Morgantown.

"I think Charles Pointe can solve some of those problems," Nehlen said. "This can be a real boon for the entire state of West Virginia."

Nehlen was one of more than 90 people who spoke in favor of regional projects still eligible for the remaining $130 million grant. More than 20 of the 70 remaining projects were represented at the meeting.

"I'm a West Virginian by choice, not my birth," Nehlen said. "I would like my grandkids to stay here."

Developers are seeking $11 million to help build access roads to the 2,000-acre development. Harrison County Commissioner Roger Diaz said the project would not only help Harrison County, but also other areas in the state.

"This is something that will be good for the region," Diaz said. "It is a regionalistic approach."

The project will also create a new tax base that will help fund other expansion projects within the county.

"We do not have the money to put in infrastructure to attract development," Diaz said. "I promise you today, Harrison County will capture all those new taxes leveraging dollars to implement infrastructure into the county."

Harrison County resident Michael Griffith said the project is not one developed just to take advantage of the state grant.

"It is a model for long-term development for North Central West Virginia," Griffith said.

Charles Pointe was not the only local project discussed during the public hearing...