Marion County and North Central West Virginia may soon get an eye-opening lesson on the real value of roads.
We’re not talking about the governor’s “Roads to Prosperity” program, but a smaller scale road project.
The recent groundbreaking announcement by Gov. Jim Justice to begin building 1,632 linear feet of road inside the I-79 Technology Park could reap huge rewards for our county and our region.
The road, which is part of the Tech Park’s Phase III development, will cost of $3.7 million to build, however, its impact could lead to new homes, other new ancillary roads and so much more. We support and encourage each of these aspects and how they will play out in the years to come.
The High Technology Foundation hopes the new road and the buildings that follow will help convince a number of federal agencies to set up shop in the Tech Park.
At the same time, there is a separate, ongoing move to attract other technology companies to the Tech Park that will also bring new jobs.
While high-skill, high-wage jobs are exactly what Marion County needs, we stress care and caution in making sure these things happen and are rolled out and achieved in a logical manner.
Along with roads, other infrastructure is always impacted when growth happens too quickly.
We want to make sure that new jobs and new people that come don’t end up over-taxing our schools. We will need to make sure there are enough classrooms to handle the possible onslaught of new students that will come with the families who move here from the Washington, D.C. area.
Another topic that must be addressed would be adequate housing. It’s been said by many that Marion County is currently facing a housing shortage. The question we ask is will an onslaught of hundreds, possibly thousands, of new workers that come here have access to housing that is affordable and sufficient.
We also want to make sure there will be adequate water and sewer systems to meet the demands of new housing. If you’ve been paying attention, the cities and towns in Marion County have faced various water woes in recent years that cost millions of dollars to maintain and repair and/or replace.
And then, there is an ancillary impact on the business community that new jobs inject into a market.
Will there be sufficient retail outlets to meet the needs of the new residents? For example, will there be a supermarket? And when the retail comes, the question of roads and zoning and logical growth all play into the equation once again.
We look forward to the growth and want to cling to the governor’s excitement about the Phase III road project, but we just hope it’s done in a careful manner that allows us all to thrive.