The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University
By Tamara Woods and Angela Jones, Staff Writers
MORGANTOWN September 6, 2002
Over 90 West Virginians gathered Thursday evening to vie for grant funds to support different projects
WVU made the first cut for a total of $12 million for two projects. One is a $10 million prospective research park, and the other is a prospective fire service training academy.
The committee initially had $200 million in lottery proceeds to dole out, but Wheeling automatically received $70 million for an outlet shopping mall.
One of the committee’s main goals is to bring to and maintain jobs in West Virginia.
During last night’s meeting at the Morgantown Armory, project representatives met to garner funds for their endeavors.
“This is a chance for the public to come forward and make comments,” Chairman Brian Kastick said.
WVU’s projects have a lot of competition. Initially, 200 projects tried for the monies and the West Virginia Economic Grant Committee narrowed them down to 67.
Former WVU football coach Don Nehlen attended in support of Charles Pointe, an economic development project in which an office building, hotel and convention conference center could be built in Bridgeport.
Nehlen said when he was recruiting for WVU, potential players and parents would ask him why they should come to West Virginia when they’d have to go to Ohio or Pennsylvania to get a job.
“I’m tired of hearing it,” he said. “I’m a West Virginian by choice, not by birth, and I hope my grandchildren will stay here.”
Barbour County Delegate Mary M. Poling proposed to build the Belington Industrial Park in order to bring more revenue and jobs to the area.
She said her county has the highest unemployment rate in the state.
“Today my husband and (one of) his co-workers drove over one hour to Marion County because they lost their jobs in Barbour County,” Poling said.
A final decision on which projects will receive the funding will be made later this month.