The Exponent Telegram
July 25, 2013
By: Greg Talkington
BRIDGEPORT – It’s official.
Thanks to the aggressive efforts of the Bridgeport Convention and Visitors Bureau, Genesis Partners of Charles Pointe, the City of Bridgeport and a few more such entities, the new Mountain East Conference offices will reside in the Charles Pointe development of northern Harrison County.
“These people got it from the very beginning,” said Reid Amos, the league’s first commissioner on Wednesday at the Bridgeport Conference Center.
“What we’ve been trying to sell as the positives of our league and what it can bring to a community, they already saw that.
“Honestly, we were just blown away by their proposal.”
The Mountain East Conference, the country’s newest NCAA Division II conference, will set up its headquarters at 600 Marketplace Ave. in Bridgeport in August.
“We are very happy to call Bridgeport our home,” Amos said. “As this process unfolded, it became very clear that the city of Bridgeport was intent on making every effort to bring our offices here.
“On behalf of the MEC, I want to extend my appreciation to the city, the CVB, the Bridgeport Conference Center, Charles Pointe and Genesis Partners for all of their efforts that have made this a reality.”
Amos said the vote to ratify Bridgeport among the league’s board, which consists of the 12 member schools’ presidents or chancellors, was unanimous.
Drew Pomeroy, president of the Bridgeport Convention and Visitors Bureau, made the welcome official.
“From day one, our mission at the CVB has been to put heads in beds,” Pomeroy said. “Our major goal is to drive economic development through tourism and we believe the Mountain East Conference brings two things that facilitate that goal.”
“First, the conference meetings here will be the featured destination. Second, we want to continue to enhance Bridgeport as a sports marketing venue and this definitely does that.”
Pomeroy also praised Genesis Partners of Charles Pointe for working with the MEC in providing affordable office space.
“Genesis was very accommodating in helping the MEC stay within their budgetary constraints,” Pomeroy said. “They definitely see the value and potential the MEC brings to the region.”
Amos is excited about the possibilities that exist in an area that has experienced exponential growth the past few years.
“We’ll be at the 600 Marketplace location for the foreseeable future, but we’re excited about some of the future potential plans concerning further development in the area,” Amos said. “That development could prove beneficial to the Mountain East Conference.”
Jamie Corton and Mark Dellana of Genesis Partners expressed those sentiments following the news conference.
Corton believes more sports-based projects could be in the works, including an arena of some capacity.
“From Fairmont to down the Route 33 corridor, people in this region just love their sports, be it T-ball, minor league or Babe Ruth for example,” Corton said. “I believe this area could be supportive of some optional venues.
“So a true events center of some sort is certainly something being thought about.”
Added Dellana, “With 1,700 acres of property, the possibilities are unlimited. By way of an example, all of Charleston fits into 1,700 acres and all of Pittsburgh fits into 1,700 acres.
“So yes, anything is possible.”
For now, Amos is content with the centrally-located headquarters.
“Geographically, it is the center for our 12-member institutions,” Amos said. “Seven of our 12 member institutions can drive here in one-hour and 45—minutes and the average drive time for all of our institutions is just over 2 hours, which makes us in the top four or five among D-II conferences and better than 20 of them.
“So we have travel advantages that most D-II leagues don’t have.”