By Michele Newbanks|
A joint Calhoun-Wirt County economic development venture may
make it easier for the counties to get grant money.
"The joint venture is a step in the right direction," Calhoun County
Commission member Larry McCallister said.
"They give more matching funds to participants in the multi-county
developments," Wirt County Commission President Lintion Offutt
It was announced at the Calhoun County Commission meeting
monday night that twice the economic development money will be
available for the venture.
Offutt explained that it is much harder for a single county to obtain
money for grants. State officials have encouraged counties to
band together, which makes it easier for the multi-county
developments to receive state money.
"The big benefits is that having a two-county development
authority, you can leverage twice the amount of money," Calhoun
County Commission President Bob Weaver said. "That's sort of
the driving force behind joint venturing. There are about 26
counties that are essentially below the poverty level. We're all
scrambling to get job opportunities."
An organizational meeting of the new boards of directors is
scheduled for 7 p.m. March 26 at the Calhoun Courthouse in
Grantsville. Members of the board will discuss how the Little
Kanawha Area Development Corp. can apply for grants.
The eight members of the board of directors will elect officers at
the meeting. The board consists of four appointees from each
county. The board also includes, as ex-officio members, the
presidents of the county commissions and the mayors of
Grantsville and Elizabeth.
The six members from Calhoun county are Danny Law, Dan
McDonald, Jim Morford, Donnie Pitts, Commission President Bob
Weaver and Grantsville Mayor Gary Knight.
The six members from Wirt County are Brian Sims, Phil Shears,
Alvin Engelke, Dave Cox, Commission President Lention Offutt
and Elizabeth Mayor Lewis Full.
The big hurdle now is obtaining the grants to move forward with
"Mr. Offutt and I are hopeful that we can put this project on the
road," Weaver said. "We want to be able to attract some small or
light industry or businesses to the area that would benefit our
people. We do have a lot of problems in common, in that both of
out county tax bases are stagnant."