POINT PLEASANT — Mason County will benefit from an Appalachian Power program which awards funds to local economic development projects.
The Mason County Development Authority has been awarded $20,000 to redevelop its master plan for its 200-acre county-owned industrial park.
Projects in several Virginia and West Virginia counties and cities were selected to share $155,000 in economic development grants from Appalachian Power. The awards announced this week are part of Appalachian Power’s efforts to promote economic growth in the company’s service territory.
Thirteen localities and nonprofits will receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 through the company’s Economic Development Growth Enhancement (EDGE) program administered by John Smolak, economic and business development director. The funds will be used for site development or to support marketing and promotion, or new business development and retention.
Smolak said the Mason County Development Authority’s project fits well within the scope of what Appalachian Power wishes to fund through the EDGE program.
Smolak added, the Mason County Development Authority applied for the grant to update its existing master plan at the Mason County Industrial Park as its been awhile since it was updated. This would likely mean engaging an engineering firm to look at the current master plan to make adjustments and possibly look at adding a new access road into the park, Smolak said.
This is the third year Appalachian Power has awarded these funds and the first time an organization in Mason County was a recipient.
Mason County Development Authority Director John Musgrave has been a big believer in growing the park. Currently, it houses one business with room for more.
The park currently houses Steel Specialties, a company which does steel fabrication. As previously reported, Steel Specialties purchased the old West Virginia Cold Drawn property that’s within the park. The building had sat empty since 2012, and Steel Specialties has sunk nearly $1 million into improvements in that property. It’s hoped renovations will be done by January. However, the facility is operational and currently employs full-time workers doing steel fabrication with room to grow. There is potential to grow the facility to employ 15 full-time positions, according to a Steel Specialties spokesperson.
Musgrave has said he hopes with this recent investment of Steel Specialties, it will attract more clients and businesses to the industrial park which sits along W.Va. 62 north of Point Pleasant. Updating the master plan at the park would be another piece of that puzzle.
Other EDGE grant recipients in West Virginia include:
•$20,000 to the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority to support the Refresh Appalachia economic development initiative with construction of a new multi-purpose facility for agricultural product processing at the Mingo County Wood Products Industrial Park;
•$20,000 to the Wayne County Development Authority’s new subsidiary, the Western Gate Land Development Corporation, for development of a master plan for a 50 acre tract near the Heartland Intermodal Gateway Facility;
•$10,000 to Advantage Valley, Inc. to develop a new prospect lead generation and marketing program to capitalize on social media;
•$5,000 to the Huntington Area Development Council to re-assess its current strategic plan for regional economic development; and
•$5,000 for the RED Partnership to develop a database of potential new sites for development in Marshall County.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.