POINT PLEASANT — Recently, the Mason County Commission met with developers for the proposed Jellystone Park Camp and Resort project to discuss the next steps regarding the possible installment of a sewer system on the land development site in Southside.
Those who attended the meeting were Mason County Commissioners Tracy Doolittle, Rick Handley, and Sam Nibert, County Administrator John Gerlach, Lance Thornton, of The Thornton Group & LandSu Land Development, Inc./co-chairman of Erie Automotive Aftermarket Holdings, and Dave Hubba, local builder. Also, attending via conference call, were Todd Hooker from the West Virginia Development Office and Heather Vanater from the West Virginia Department of Commerce.
Hooker discussed the two major aspects that must happen for funding regarding water and sewer projects.
First, a preliminary engineering report must be done on the project’s land site. Following that, the report must go to the infrastructure council who will overview the report to see if the proposed project is technically feasible, see if there are any potential utility consolidation issues, as well as do a cost analysis of the project. The infrastructure council will see how much of the project can be done through debt and how much grant money would be necessary. This council was formed in 1994, 80 percent of its funding is given towards water and sewer projects and 20 percent goes towards economic development projects. The grant money given through this council are divided up between three congressional districts within the state. This grant system is “super competitive,” commented Hooker.
Other grants could be an option. However, if a project is state or federally funded, or even funded through a bank, an environmental impact study by various state agencies would be necessary to move the project forward, according to Hooker.
Thornton and Hubba commented they would like to see this project operational by spring of 2020. Hooker explained building a sewer system from scratch could take a couple of years as well as has a potential to be an expensive project in and of itself. This projected date is on a “pretty aggressive schedule,” according to Hooker, but is not impossible.
It was confirmed the commission will hire an engineer from the Mason County Public Service District to do a preliminary engineering report on the land development site and following the commission will reach out to Kathy Elliot, from Region 2 Development Authority, to assist with putting together a grant application.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.