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.
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
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