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.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
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.
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