It’s difficult to gauge economic development.
The “if you build it, they will come” philosophy for government or private infrastructure development is usually a safe bet. Especially when you’re talking about drawing more than 40,000 visitors to a particular spot for a week.
Numbers released earlier this week regarding the Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel Reserve near Oak Hill have supported the short-term success of the development. The Associated Press reported that construction of the permanent home for the national Jamboree pumped nearly $170 million in income into southern West Virginia over the past four years.
A report by SYNEVA Economics of Asheville, N.C., found that $121 million went directly into the community, and another $48 million indirectly benefited the community through construction, supporting 848 jobs.
On top of that, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Monday that the project has generated $45.1 million in tax revenues between 2010 and 2013, with some $15.8 million for state and local governments.
That’s just the beginning, state officials believe.
Before the Boy Scouts of America chose Fayette County as the permanent home from the 80 sites in 28 states under consideration, the organization held its annual Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. But it was always a temporary site in nature, which required dismantling and rebuilding of structures every four years.
Summit Bechtel is expected to be open year-round and available for Scouting events, retreats and conferences.
Tomblin says the numbers will continue to grow as those within the Scouting community tell friends and family about their experiences in West Virginia.
“Hopefully, the word of mouth resonates and they go home and say, ‘Wow, we didn’t think of West Virginia’ as a place to go,” Tomblin said earlier this week.
And then there’s the world Jamboree scheduled for 2019, which officials are already predicting will draw more than 80,000 Scouts from around the world and will mark the first time the event will be held in the United States. Not only will there be much more construction and work to prepare the 10,000-acre site for twice the number of visitors, but the impact on the supporting businesses — gas stations, hotels, grocery stores, restaurants — will be astronomical.
We know how much Summit Bechtel has meant to the state so far. This isn’t a temporary influx of dollars in our economy. It is a solid foundation that will foster growth and even more development. We know that visitors from near and far will carry home stories of Wild, Wonderful West Virginia as they experience the scenic beauty and outdoor recreation like never before over the next 10 days.
And we know West Virginia will not be the nation’s “best-kept secret” for much longer.
It’s difficult to gauge economic development.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?
I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
“Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.
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- Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely