By Jeff Toquinto – News Editor
BRIDGEPORT ( Thursday, September 23, 2004, Page A3)
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Timms was more than happy to see West Virginia Governor Bob Wise last week at the Charles Pointe development. In fact, the Mayor told the state’s top elected official he’s always welcome in the city.
"Our doors are always open to you and you don’t need to bring a check," joked Timms, "although we will accept it."
The check in question was the $6 million grant awarded to the city of Bridgeport earlier this year. Bridgeport was one of several government agencies awarded more than $200 million from the state economic development grant committee. Wise has been appearing at several of the projects that have been awarded funds in recent months.
Wise was joined by city, county and state officials, along with representatives of Genesis Partners (the developers of Charles Pointe) and officials with the Wingate Inn Hotel on Sept. 15.
The Wingate Inn is the first private development to go up at the planned facility. The Wingate Inn will benefit from part of the $4.5 million in infrastructure the grant money has helped put in place. The remaining $1.5 million will cover half of the cost of the Bridgeport Convention Center that will adjoin the Wingate Inn.
"We do want to celebrate what’s being done here today," said Wise. "This is about economic growth and jobs and particularly the Charles Pointe project."
The project first was brought to the public’s attention in October of 2000. Charles Pointe, which is named after the late local philanthropist, Charles "Jim" Compton, is a state-of-the-art planned community. Compton’s daughter, Jennifer, and her husband, Jamie, are spearheading the effort that has been years in the making. The hope for the planned community is to have up to a $750 million investment in the next 10 to 20 years.
"I remember when Jamie Corton met with me five or six years ago when I was in the Congress and he explained this to me," said Wise. "It was cutting edge then and it is definitely cutting edge now. The vision that is almost three quarters of a billion dollar enterprise right here in Harrison County is incredible."
Although the grant money won’t provide infrastructure to the entire area of the massive project, there will be full service utilities and road systems for 100 acres of land. That land will be used for commercial, retail, office and residential development.