There’s been a great amount of positive energy in the North Central West Virginia area of late.
Highland Hospital’s remodeling of the old United Hospital Center continues, keeping dozens of construction workers employed. In the not too distant future, the behavioral health facility will open, employing between 250 to 300 health care workers.
The state office complex, talked about for years, is finally moving forward — with the Division of Motor Vehicles — meaning about 180 jobs and plenty of visiting motorists will be in the downtown Clarksburg area.
New stores and warehouse facilities now are open on what were once abandoned factory sites.
Two major business developments are sprouting along Interstate 79 at White Oaks and Charles Pointe, joining Eastpointe/New Pointe and Meadowbrook Mall to form a solid beltway of retail/commercial/residential development.
Marcellus shale development, while slowed a little by the low cost of the commodity, remains a major factor and is expected to continue to grow.
Yes, the area is moving forward. But that doesn’t mean our leaders in Charleston, or Washington, can rest on their laurels.
As the nation continues a slow march out of the Great Recession, there are still plenty of obstacles to overcome.
Thus far, the Tomblin administration has done a great job. They’ve held the state purse strings tight, worked to improve the education system and continued to look for new economic development opportunities.
A major step would be improving infrastructure, especially roadways.
To the south, the completion of Corridor H would do wonders in opening more opportunities in Upshur and Lewis counties.
In neighboring Barbour County, the addition of a major four-lane road would definitely aid economic development efforts.
To the north, the extension of a four-lane along Meadowbrook Road or creation of a four-lane on Saltwell Road would aid Shinnston’s grassroots effort to revitalize its downtown.
And to the west, in areas that are definitely benefiting from Marcellus work, there’s a wealth of opportunity for retail/residential development along most of U.S. 50 to Parkersburg. That stretch of four-lane remains one of the most desolate of my recent travels.
Make no mistake; there are plenty of positive developments. But there are plenty more opportunities.
It’s time to seize the day.