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April 10, 2019


CAWV’s Construction Matters is a compilation of news articles from around the state of West Virginia on projects and issues of interest to CAWV members. A brief summary is provided for each article.  To view the full article, click the link to the original source. 


Division of Highways launches grant application process for potential trails projects

(WVNews 4/2) The West Virginia Division of Highways has created an application process to request grant funding for potential Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program projects. According to a release from the Department of Transportation, applying for funding is a two-step process. For the initial step, applicants must register then submit an intent-to-apply. Upon review and approval of that intent, a full application may then be submitted. Both the intent-to-apply and application must be submitted online through the website; paper submissions will not be accepted.


WV Women Work! crew rejuvenates Celebration Station

(Charleston Gazette-Mail 4/2) An industrious group of WV Women Work! students labored at Celebration Station, the playground/recreation area adjacent to Piedmont Elementary School on Charleston's East End, April 1 and 2 to make the location sparkle with a thorough spring cleaning. Founded in 2000, West Virginia Women Work!, a nonprofit, statewide training program with bases in Charleston, Morgantown and Martinsburg, assists women in training and, subsequently, earning a living wage in construction trade occupations or other skilled labor. West Virginia Women Work! offers women services such as recruitment, training, referrals, job placements, retention activities and workshops.


Ohio Turnpike construction won't take a summer break

(The Blade 4/2) While a ramp at the I-280 interchange in Wood County marks the main construction headache Toledoans will face locally while driving the Ohio Turnpike this summer, those traveling longer distances to Williams County in the west, or metro Cleveland to the east will encounter additional challenges. The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission expects to spend nearly $200 million on pavement repairs and reconstruction, bridge overhauls and replacements, and other construction along the 241-mile toll road during 2019. (Contractor: Kokosing Construction Company, Inc.)


Jefferson County BOE allocates $1.46 million for Washington and Jefferson high school athletic facilities in West Virginia 

(The Journal 4/3) The Jefferson County Board of Education voted unanimously during a special meeting on Monday to allocate $1.46 million to replace the track and football field at Washington High School and the track at Jefferson High School. The board was able to negotiate several discounts for the taxpayers, totaling more than $59,000 in savings, according to a news release from Jefferson County Schools. The replacement is expected to be completed by the fall of 2019.


Vienna approves bid to repair park dam

(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 4/3) Vienna City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee Tuesday approved a bid for $25,680 to repair the wildlife dam at McDonough Park. “I am so glad it was approved,” said Tommy Dawson, lead worker at McDonough Park. The area in discussion was previously dammed, but it broke a few years ago and the Parks Department has been unable to repair it. “It is really important to get this fixed, because we only have three ponds for the fish, geese and other animals,” Dawson said.


Gov. Justice announces Northrop Grumman plant expansion project at Allegany Ballistics Laboratory bringing new jobs to West Virginia

(Office of the Governor 4/3) Gov. Justice announced today an expansion of the Northrop Grumman plant in Rocket Center, West Virginia, supplemented by economic incentives by the State of West Virginia, that will retain more than 1,100 jobs and create up to 500 more jobs at their Mineral County location over a five year period. “Northrop Grumman’s continued commitment to investing in West Virginia is incredible news,” Gov. Justice said. “They are truly a world-class organization and a wonderful partner for our state. Their decision to expand the Rocket Center facility affirms what I’ve been saying all along, that West Virginia is the perfect place to do business.”


‘Dangerous’ Marshall County road conditions prompt emergency declaration

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/3) “It’s a safety issue.” That’s how Betsy Frohnapfel, county administrator in Marshall County, is describing this week’s decision from members of the Marshall County Commission to declare a State of Emergency because of county road conditions. “We want people in Charleston to understand the severity of our issue,” Frohnapfel said. “We’re talking about the safety of our traveling public. We’re talking about being able to get public safety — fire, EMS and law enforcement — to certain areas of a county and now we’re talking about school bus safety and kid safety.”


Northrop Grumman expanding in Mineral County following recent purchase

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/3) Defense contractor Northrop Grumman plans to keep 1,100 jobs at its Mineral County site and create as many as 500 additional positions, according to information released Wednesday by the Justice administration. The moves are being supplemented by state economic incentives and will take place over the next five years. “Northrop Grumman’s continued commitment to investing in West Virginia is incredible news,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a news release. “They are truly a world-class organization and a wonderful partner for our state. Their decision to expand the Rocket Center facility affirms what I’ve been saying all along, that West Virginia is the perfect place to do business.”


FEMA indicates red tape in school replacement is near an end

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/3) The top leader at the Federal Emergency Management Agency told a U.S. Senate subcommittee Wednesday the hurdles to rebuild four destroyed schools in West Virginia are nearly through. Peter Gaynar, acting administrator for FEMA, was before the committee chaired by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito to discuss FEMA’s budget request for the coming fiscal year. However, Capito used the opportunity to quiz him about the slow pace of school restoration in Kanawha and Nicholas Counties.


Morgantown’s riverfront revitalization project moving forward

(The Dominion Post 4/3) Work continues on Morgantown’s $4.1 million riverfront overhaul. According to the city’s communications office, March Westin is in the process of demolishing interior spaces in the former home of Mountain Line’s bus depot, on Garrett Street. The contractor named the city’s “construction manager at risk” on the project in March 2018 for $209,7000 is also performing site grading around the Hazel Ruby McQuain Riverfront Park amphitheater. The work is being financed through a grant from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Foundation.


Newburg working with DOH to get dirt for project in town

(The Dominion Post 4/3) Some of the dirt from the Division of Highways’ ditching work in Preston County is being recycled by Newburg. Newburg Mayor Edgar Fortney said at Tuesday’s council meeting that dirt being dumped near town hall will be used to fill in the below the embankment behind town hall. “It will make the area a lot easier to mow,” he said. In other discussions, there was no update on when the Independence water project will begin, according to Fortney. Earlier Morgan K. Coast of Vaughn, Coast & Vaughn, Inc., the project engineer, said the route for the water line extension has changed.


Northrop Grumman plant in Mineral County, WV, will create up to 500 jobs over five year period

(WVNews 4/3) The Northrop Grumman plant in Rocket Center, West Virginia, will create up to 500 more jobs at their Mineral County location over a five year period. According to a release from Gov. Jim Justice's office, Northrop Grumman, which employs 1,100 currently at the Mineral County location, will add a number of jobs over the next few years.  “Northrop Grumman’s continued commitment to investing in West Virginia is incredible news,” Gov. Justice said. “They are truly a world-class organization and a wonderful partner for our state. Their decision to expand the Rocket Center facility affirms what I’ve been saying all along, that West Virginia is the perfect place to do business.”


Martinsburg roundhouse projects closer to being put out for bid

(Herald-Mail Media 4/3) A state transportation official said Wednesday that plans to build permanent restrooms and make other improvements at the historic Baltimore and Ohio Railroad roundhouse and shops in Martinsburg are another step closer to being advertised to contractors. Plans for the restrooms, as well as the installation of fire sprinklers, concrete flooring, elevator and steps for the bridge and machine-shop building at the 19th-century railroad site, were approved by the West Virginia Historic Preservation Office, said Mark Scoular of the West Virginia Division of Highways’ planning division.


Parkersburg City Council to consider sidewalk repairs

(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 4/4) A program to assist commercial property owners with repairing sidewalks is headed back before Parkersburg City Council. Council’s Finance Committee voted 4-1 Tuesday to refer the program to the full body after approving an administration-proposed amendment saying it would only be open to people who do not have unpaid fees with the city.


Paving the runway: Mercer County Airport receives ‘much-needed face lift’

(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 4/4) The runway at Mercer County Airport is getting a much-needed face lift. Crews started Wednesday morning repaving the entire runway. “It’s been over 30 years (since it was last repaved), in the mid-1980s,” said Airport General Manager Clint Ransom. “We were planning to do this in the fall but it got delayed because of the weather.” Cold weather moved in during November, earlier than usual, delaying many paving projects, including work on the I-77 project. “Last week, we did the crack repair and milling in places,” he said. “This week, they actually are paving and will finish this weekend.”


Local officials show off available business sites for W.Va. commerce contingent

(The Herald-Dispatch 4/4) There have been several manufacturing companies interested in purchasing a 100,000-square-foot shell building at a business park in Green Bottom. In the building's 11-year history, it has come close to being sold but deals have fallen through for one reason or another, said David Lieving, president and CEO of the Huntington Area Development Council (HADCO). "We've been to the altar more than once, only to be left standing there," Lieving said. Lieving gave a tour of the building and several of the other vacant properties Wednesday to West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Ed Gaunch and Mike Graney, executive director of the State Development Office.


Renovations underway at Lawrence County Courthouse

(The Herald-Dispatch 4/4) The 4th Street entrance to the Lawrence County Courthouse will be closed starting Thursday, April 4, and will be closed for more than a month, according to Summer Riley, administrative assistant to the Lawrence County Board of Commissioners. The commissioners approved a renovation project that includes a new roof and gutters, improved lighting, a new elevator, refurbishing the copper courthouse dome, an upgrade to the heating and cooling system and repairing stonework and masonry on the courthouse building.


Work begins on Chapel Road Bridge in Bethlehem

(The Intelligencer 4/4) Crews with Kokosing Construction Company, Inc., headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, begin working this week on the 47-year-old Chapel Road Bridge. Workers have been moving equipment into place and have already started replacing supports for the waterline that runs beneath the deck. It is scheduled to be closed to traffic through the end of August, and work will proceed a second bridge deck replacement project on the nearby Spruce Street Bridge, which is near the same location.


Parkways Authority approves Beckley E-ZPass customer service outlet, maintenance consolidation

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/4) The West Virginia Parkways Authority voted Thursday to move forward with a proposal to open an E-ZPass customer service center in Beckley. General Manager Greg Barr told MetroNews the need for such a facility is being generated by the popularity of the E-ZPass discount program on the West Virginia Turnpike, adding it has resulted in the addition of more than 100,000 new accounts. “A lot of those people live in southern West Virginia. They live in Bluefield, Princeton, Beckley. Yet, our headquarters are up in Charleston,” he said. “We thought it’s time that we have that many more people now that need customer service, swap out transponders, and ask questions that we move a little office into the Beckley area to make it a shorter trip for people to get their problems taken care of.”


WVDEP Approves Construction Stormwater Permit for Mountaineer Gas Route 9 Extension

(West Virginia Press 4/4) The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (WVDEP) Division of Water and Waste Management has issued a State General Water Pollution Control Permit to regulate the discharge of stormwater runoff associated with construction activities for Mountaineer Gas Company’s proposed Route 9 Extension in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.  Registration Application No. WVR311281 proposed construction of approximately 4.8 miles of natural gas distribution line and was approved on March 29, 2019.


'I'll believe it when I see it': Manila Ridge extension project to break ground in May

(Charleston Gazette-Mail 4/4) Harvey Tribble built his home in Manila Ridge in 1973, but only started receiving public water 11 years ago. This isn’t the case for Tribble’s neighbors down the road. Many of them still haul water from the nearby community of Jim Ridge. This could all change soon. After seven years of discussion, construction on the Manila Ridge water extension line should begin in early May. Manila Ridge sits in the northern part of Putnam County in the Buffalo-Union area, with hilly terrain and winding roads. It’s largely a rural area where some residents have lived most of their lives. Just east of the Manila Ridge is Jim Ridge, which had a water extension line put in about 11 years ago. (Engineer: Terradon Corporation)


Time to stop and ask for directions: Governor, road officials need to tell us way — the plan — to improve road conditions

(The Dominion Post 4/5) We were about to write meetings on road conditions are just not enough. However, following Wednesday’s postponement of a Monongalia County Commission work session with state highway officials we thought better of that. For now, that meeting is supposedly rescheduled for next Wednesday (April 10). But judging by an invitation from the Division of Highways to separate two-hour meetings with officials from Monongalia, Preston and Taylor counties April 12, in Clarksburg, another change in plans may be in the works.


Marietta City Council authorizes repairs to sewer line

(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 4/5) Thursday Marietta City Council authorized an emergency sewer line repair project to begin on Post Street. “This needs to get done as quick as possible,” said Councilman Mike Scales, noting the preference to have effluent flowing below ground than above it. Ordinance 194 authorized city administration to contract with Larry Lang Excavating Inc. of Beverly for a price not to exceed $155,665.


Engineering students prep for national concrete canoe competition

(West Virginia Press 4/5) For the 16th consecutive year, engineering students at Fairmont State have mastered the art of canoe building. The University’s American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter won first place in the Concrete Canoe Competition at the 2019 Virginias Conference with their canoe dubbed “The Fossil.” The team placed first in the technical paper and final product, second in the presentation, and first in all five races at the event held at George Mason University, March 28-29. The FSU team holds the record for the most consecutive national appearances at the NCCC.


Winter weather contributed to return to ‘slow spender’ list on flood relief, Hoyer says

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/5) West Virginia’s return to the “slow spender” list for flood relief can be attributed to winter weather, according to the adjutant general of the state National Guard. The list is meant to show whether states are keeping an appropriate pace to close out grant funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of the $149,875,000 that West Virginia had available, the state still has $136,601,297 left.


Capito says pressure to stay on FEMA to advance projects to replace flooded schools

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/5) U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito says she believes the message came through “loud and clear” to a top FEMA administrator Friday that it’s time to pick up the pace in replacing schools destroyed by the June 2016 floodwaters. Capito and fellow U.S. Senator Joe Manchin participated in Friday’s meeting by phone with a group that had gathered in her Charleston office including FEMA Region III Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. Tierney, at Capito’s request, came to the Capital City to meet with Kanawha County school officials, state lawmakers and county and municipal leaders.


Gov. Justice announces $155,000 in federal grant funding for broadband upgrades in Mercer County

(Office of the Governor 4/5) Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia has secured $155,000 in federal grant funding that will be used to improve broadband and high-speed internet connectivity in Mercer County. “It’s a grant that is completely directed toward broadband and extensive connectivity,” Gov. Justice said to a crowd on hand for the announcement at the Memorial Building in Princeton. “It’s going to upgrade our industrial park in Mercer County and make us more attractive to draw more business in and give us the opportunity to have more jobs.”


Wheeling City Council to consider spending $4 million for various infrastructure projects

(The Intelligencer 4/6) Several projects are up for consideration by Wheeling City Council this month, with spending totaling near $4 million and providing for work on water wells, road repairs and other infrastructure upgrades. Among them are about $1 million for adding new water wells and about $2.5 million for design work for Wheeling’s long-term control plan to improve sewer lines and wastewater treatment in the city. Council heard first readings of several spending ordinances at its meeting Tuesday and will vote on the measures April 16.


Rockwool's gas pipeline permit approved by WV DEP

(The Journal 4/6) The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protections on March 29 approved a State General Water Pollution Control permit for Mountaineer Gas Company to extend an approximately 4.8-mile natural gas distribution line for the under-construction Rockwool manufacturing plant in Ranson. The approval came after the Jefferson County Commission and two state representatives asked the WVDEP to reschedule a canceled public hearing for the permit application. Previously, the WVDEP scheduled a public hearing on Feb. 21 to hear concerns regarding the permit application. However, the agency postponed the hearing, and it was never rescheduled.


Time for WV motorists to slow down and pay attention in construction zones

(The Exponent Telegram 4/6) There will be plenty of construction zones up this year in North Central West Virginia interstates, highways and roads, as well as throughout the rest of the state. Which means there will be some motorists who speed into and through these zones, drive distracted in them, and otherwise jeopardize the men and women working in them or other motorists.


West Virginia flood relief priority shift means no promises for devastated homeowners

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/6) After the devastating flood of 2016, there were public forums around West Virginia advising flood victims about a valuable resource, federal Hazard Mitigation Grant money State officials told homeowners the process is competitive and they should apply but act as if they’re moving on with life with no guarantee of help. “We ask that you go on with your life as if you are not in a project,” officials told the crowds.


New chimney swift tower now standing on Shepherd's campus

(The Journal 4/6) Chimney swifts returning to Shepherdstown from South America this spring will be able to move into a new home on Shepherd University's West Campus. An agreement between Shepherd and the Potomac Valley Audubon Society allowed PVAS to have a 30-foot tower constructed next to Dunlop Hall to serve as a migratory stop for the swifts. The new tower is intended to replace the chimney on Sara Cree Hall that swifts used for a roost before the building was torn down in 2017. Schmitt Construction Company of Shepherdstown built the new tower, which was engineered by Alpha Associates and will be able to host up to 5,000 birds.


Feds stall tax incentive program Charleston hopes will draw businesses

(Charleston Gazette-Mail 4/7) City leaders are looking into how they can use a new tax incentive program in Charleston to attract businesses. The only problem is the federal government has yet to send out the final rules. The program started in January, and Charleston announced it had four “opportunity zones.” The program will give investors a deferral on current capital-gains taxes and an exemption on gains realized on investments held for at least 10 years. West Virginia was one of the 9,000 lower-income areas throughout the country selected for the program.


Pipestem Resort State Park building summer zip line course, more

(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 4/7) Some exciting updates are coming to Pipestem Resort State Park this summer. According to Paul Buechler, CEO of Pipestem Adventures and Chief Financial Officer of ACE Adventure Resort, the West Virginia Parks System will perform $65 million worth of improvements through bond money. Pipestem, the largest of W.Va.’s 55 state parks, will open a zip line course, a splash pad and a beachfront on the lake, among other improvements this summer.


Editorial: W.Va. Governor, road officials need to tell us the plan to improve road conditions

(West Virginia Press 4/7) We were about to write meetings on road conditions are just not enough. However, following Wednesday’s postponement of a Monongalia County Commission work session with state highway officials we thought better of that. For now, that meeting is supposedly rescheduled for next Wednesday (April 10). But judging by an invitation from the Division of Highways to separate two-hour meetings with officials from Monongalia, Preston and Taylor counties April 12, in Clarksburg, another change in plans may be in the works.


Despite recent rough weather, Cacapon Resort State Park construction on track

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/7) An official with Cacapon Resort State Park in Morgan County says construction is going well on a large addition to their lodge. Lodge Manager Kevin Wetzel was a guest on Tuesday’s Panhandle Live heard on WEPM. “We’re excited for the citizens of West Virginia and our neighbors who come from other states to visit the park to enjoy all of the natural scenery we have out there. The bike trails, hiking trails and golf. It’s just a wonderful place to work at and place to visit as well.” Wetzel says the new portion of the lodge will add 78 rooms to the existing 48. Other new amenities will include a new restaurant with a buffet and bar, indoor and outdoor dining and a large firepit for outdoor events. (Contractor: Paramount Builders)


West Virginia University breaks ground on S.T.E.M. facility

(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 4/7) The West Virginia University Extension Service has broken ground on the new Annette S. Boggs Educational Center, a 6,000-square-foot facility at WVU Jackson’s Mill, which will be home to year-round programming and hands-on activities that focus on science, technology, engineering and math. The center was made possible through a gift by Howard E. Boggs, the husband of the late Annette S. Boggs who retired from WVU Extension Service where she served as a home economist 4-H specialist, leadership development specialist and program coordinator in Keyser. She was a 4-H All Star and a member of the NAREF Potomac Highlands Chapter 2288.


Ahead of summer construction season, DOH, Parkways Authority still plagued by chronic labor shortage

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/7) The agencies that oversee West Virginia’s roads continue to grapple with an ever-dwindling labor pool for routine maintenance and long-term highway construction projects. That’s happening even as Gov. Jim Justice promises to mobilize the state’s available resources in an effort to improve the condition of West Virginia’s worsening secondary roads. The state Division of Highways and the Parkways Authority have similar goals but operate under different management structures. The Parkways Authority oversees the West Virginia Turnpike, while the Division of Highways oversees other state roads.


$1.6 million renovation project means Benwood pool will stay closed throughout 2019

(The Intelligencer 4/8) The city’s pool will be closed this summer as leaders embark on more than $1.6 million in upgrades to the pool and the adjacent pool building. Initial plans called for construction on just the pool to be completed this spring in time for an opening on Memorial Day. But unforeseen problems with plumbing and wiring increased the size and time frame for the project, according to Mayor Ed Kuca and Police Chief Frank Longwell. As a result, the city now will close the pool for the summer, and take on an additional project to rehabilitate the pool building. The building will get new roof, siding and bath houses. The total cost for both projects will be $1,645,417, with D.V. Weber Construction of Reedsville, Ohio, doing the work, they said.


Martinsburg bridge-rehabilitation project moves forward

(Herald-Mail Media 4/7) Even among eastern West Virginia’s contingent of state highway officials, the rehabilitation of the historic East Burke Street bridge underway in Martinsburg is a very interesting project, District 5 Area Engineer Ryan Arnold said. Currently unearthed, the 119-year-old span’s barrel arch is being protected with a wood plank and metal-shoring system while the structure lacks the weight of roadway on top. “You have to keep pressure down on top of it,” Arnold said. The renovation involves construction of concrete arch footings behind the existing stone-arch footings to support a new concrete-strengthening arch above the existing one. The project, which was awarded to St. Albans, W.Va.-based Orders Construction Co. Inc., also includes installation of an observation kiosk with an informational sign, benches and landscaping on the south side of East Burke Street, Arnold said.


American Water names Robert Burton President of West Virginia American Water

(Global Banking & Finance Review 4/8) American Water has named Robert Burton president of West Virginia American Water effective today. Burton is replacing Brian Bruce, who has left American Water. Burton has 22 years of utility management experience and most recently served as the senior director of operations for Pennsylvania American Water. In that role, Burton led operations that provide reliable water and wastewater service to more than 865,000 people in the company’s central, northeast, southeast divisions, overseeing more than 50 water systems, 10 wastewater systems, 500 employees and 200 municipalities. In his new role, Burton will work to strengthen customer, regulatory and local government relationships in West Virginia while driving operational and financial results.


WVDOT puts together draft improvement program up to 2025 for public comment

(West Virginia MetroNews 4/8) As a requirement by the Federal Highway Administration for receiving federal funding for statewide transportation, the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) has to put together an improvement program. That program, the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for fiscal years 2020-2025, has been shown off for public comment for the last week across the state. The last stop for public comment was Monday evening in South Charleston.


AEP Foundation gives $250K to Kanawha library project, atop earlier $500K

(Charleston Gazette-Mail 4/8) The American Electric Power Foundation is donating another $250,000 to the planned major renovation and expansion of the Kanawha County Public Library System’s main library, AEP and library officials announced Monday. Chris Beam, president of Appalachian Power, the AEP arm covering West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee, said this is atop the $500,000 AEP has already committed. He said that money was pledged when the Kanawha system planned to build a new main library, and the donation is being rolled over to support the current plan.


Jupiter Aluminum expanding Brooke County operations

(The State Journal 4/8) Officials and developers in the Northern Panhandle have praised the announced expansion of Jupiter Aluminum as a sign of the rebirth of heavy industry in the area. Illinois-based Jupiter Aluminum recycles aluminum scrap into coils destined for the primary markets of building and construction, license plates and recreational vehicles, which use a lot of aluminum in their construction. After an initial stint in Brooke County, the company announced its intent to invest $12 million locally and to expand its work force.


Gov. Justice meets with U.S. Department of Energy officials and moves the ball closer to an energy-manufacturing reality in West Virginia

(Office of the Governor 4/8) Gov. Jim Justice met with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) officials in Charleston Monday to discuss economic growth opportunities for West Virginia in petrochemicals and next-generation coal-fired power plants, including the feasibility of building a petrochemical complex in the Appalachian region. “My dream for West Virginia’s energy industry that I proposed to President Donald Trump and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has taken a giant step toward becoming a reality,” Gov. Justice said. “It is absolutely vital that we create a petrochemical industry in West Virginia versus building more pipelines that leave our state without creating any long-term manufacturing jobs.


Bidding is in progress for new YMCA

(The Register-Herald 4/8) Construction plans for a $33 million, state-of-the-art YMCA of Southern West Virginia have been finished, and two local organizations have pledged to give nearly 24 acres of land for construction of the 120,000-square-foot facility, YMCA CEO Jay Rist said Monday. "I’m happy to be able to announce that we've got the land in place, and we're going to move forward with fundraising," Rist added. Rist said bidding has started on the project, and a community fundraiser to raise $3.3 million is underway.


Cracker construction in Beaver County, Pa., crowded with cranes

(The Intelligencer 4/9) Cranes are not an endangered species at the petrochemical ethane cracker plant under construction in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Dozens of construction cranes tower above the landscape in Potter Township. Located near the Ohio River, the equipment is easily seen by motorists passing overhead on Interstate 376.  This is where Royal Dutch Shell is building the first U.S. cracker operation outside of the Gulf of Mexico in more than 20 years. For nearly a year now, the $6 billion project has been a 340-acre beehive of activity. It will continue to be so until the facility is fully operational, which is targeted to be in the early 2020s.


Triton Swimming looks to build new facility

(The Journal 4/9) The Eastern Panhandle has been home to some talented swimmers over the year, but the region has routinely lagged behind in high school competition. Part of that stems from the lack of facilities in the area, meaning many swimmers travel outside of the state, going to Maryland or Virginia for club swim. However, a relatively new Kearneysville-based swim club called Triton Swimming has stepped into the breach, hoping to develop swimming talent in the region on a deeper level than before.


Comprehensive study: Planning firm discusses parks and rec facilities

(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 4/9) A comprehensive study of all park and recreation facilities in Bluefield is well under way. Representatives from GAI Consultants, Inc., a Charleston-based planning firm, came to the city Monday for a series of meetings with coaches, athletics groups and others who use park and rec facilities to gather input on what works and what may be needed or improved. Small group sessions were held at the Bluefield Arts Center Monday and again today, and a public session is set for April 25.


Crews begin demolition of Flats on 4th building

(The Herald-Dispatch 4/9) Crews have begun to demolish the Flats on 4th building, which was the site of fires and criminal activity after being left empty for more than three years. AB Contracting of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, purchased the building for $351,000 in December 2018. A company representative said Allen Bell, founder and owner, would announce any future developments planned for the site. A call to Bell was not returned this week. The building began as a hotel in the 1970s, but was later converted to student apartments. The building has stood abandoned since April 2016, when it suffered $10,000 in damages after an electrical and trash fire displaced more than 100 students for three days. The facility closed shortly after.


West Virginia Delegate Joe Canestraro launches campaign to fix Marshall County’s roads

(The Intelligencer 4/9) West Virginia Delegate Joe Canestraro announced a public campaign to fix Marshall County’s deteriorating roads Monday afternoon at a talk held outside the courthouse in Moundsville. Canestraro had invited Gov. Jim Justice and Transportation Secretary Byrd White to join him and “ride shotgun” on a tour of the county’s roads, but no one from the governor’s office was present at the event. “As you can see, nobody’s here,” Canestraro said. “I didn’t hold my breath thinking that Gov. Justice would show up today. The governor likes to talk about how much he likes the state of West Virginia and its residents, but today all that is talk. He won’t travel up to Marshall County to see just how bad our roads really are.”


Gov. Justice announces $1.5 million in federal grant funding for water system upgrades in Ronceverte

(Office of the Governor 4/9) Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia has secured $1.5 million in federal grant funding that will be used to upgrade the water system in Ronceverte. “These are the upgrades that we need to do in this state,” Gov. Justice said. “I wish to goodness that we could have billions of dollars to be able to do these kinds of upgrades, nonstop, all the time, but every dollar helps.”


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