The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 20, 2013

Ribbon cut on Pinecrest expansion

BECKLEY — A ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday celebrated an extension of the road and infrastructure at Woodlands Pinecrest Business and Technology Park in Beckley.

Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh, president of the Pinecrest Development Corporation, was joined by PDC Treasurer Nancy Kissenger, Vice President Bill Baker and members of the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce to cut the ribbon on the acreage, which is located at Cranberry Creek Drive, just off of the East Beckley Bypass.

The extension is currently in phase two of a plan that started in 1992, when Pugh and others decided to develop the stretch of property.

At that time, the park was just acres of former farm land, owned by the state, he recalled.

That led town leaders to ask, “Where’s the infrastructure?”

“We wanted to try to combine something, and put it into one big piece,” said Pugh Tuesday, describing the vision he shared with Walt Lapinsky and former 4-C Economic Development Authority Director John Hunt in 1992. That authority is now known as New River Gorge Development Authority.

The park is part of the authority, a regional initiative that combines the assets of four counties to promote economic growth.

The goal said Pugh, has always been to create jobs and to expand the presence of technology in Beckley.

The 700 acres of land being developed in phase two are privately owned.

The corporation started with a $2.5 million state grant but is now owned by the development authority and hosts a technology center.

A doctor has recently purchased some of the property for development and Woody Thrasher, president of Thrasher Engineering, told the crowd that he plans to move the southern office of his business to Pinecrest Business and Technological Park, bringing at least 45 jobs to the area.

Pugh pointed out that the property is close to the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Soccer Complex and the Woodlands housing development and that it will pay dividends “for years to come.”

It offers the area an opportunity to diversify its economy, according to comments made at the ceremony.

BRCCC President and Chief Executive Officer Ellen Taylor had reported earlier that the strong retail economy in the city has attracted corporations and businesses from other sectors to the area, an opinion Pugh shared.

Pugh recalled that Beckley was the first town in West Virginia to attract a Walmart in 1990.

Since then, major retail businesses have been attracted to the area, he said.

Baker introduced Pugh as “the best mayor in the state of West Virginia.”

City National Bank Executive Vice President Charlie Houck, Raleigh County Memorial Airport Manager Tom Cochran, Roy and Kim Shrewsbury, BRCCC spokesman Joe Guffy and others were present for the ribbon-cutting and a reception at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center afterwards.

— E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com

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