The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 12, 2013

Wyoming plans new industrial park



Wyoming County Economic Development Authority officials are moving forward with the development of a second industrial park — this one in Tralee, the former Lusk Lumber site.

Officials hope to have the park open to businesses in about two years, according to Christy Laxton, county EDA executive director.

“Development of the property will take a couple of years due to working with the federal grant funds of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the coalbed methane grant funds,” Laxton said. “There are certain guidelines and aspects of these grants that could delay the development.

“We are hoping to have the park ready for buildings within two years.

“We will actively be seeking businesses that would potentially be interested in locating their new business, re-locating their existing businesses or expanding their business to this location,” Laxton explained.

Of the 10.85-acre parcel, about 6 acres are out of the floodplain, Laxton said. The remaining acreage will require elevated building pads to keep facilities above the floodplain, she said, as has been done at the John D. Rockefeller IV Industrial Park, located on Welch-Pineville Road.

“There is potential for one to three businesses to go on the currently developable portion of the property not in the floodplain,” she noted. “It depends on the size of the building and the need of businesses currently interested.

“We are looking to serve any business, but those that would be the most likely to need space would be those looking for warehouse/manufacturing space, and those in the oil/gas/mining industry,” Laxton said.

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Cost for site development is estimated at nearly $600,000, Laxton said.

That will pay for site preparation, including cleaning up the site, water lines, sewer lines and a package treatment plant to be placed on the site and some environmental remediation, Laxton explained.

“It also includes all legal, engineering, administration and project contingency fees,” she noted.

The county EDA received $662,654.42 from the state’s coalbed methane severance taxes for fiscal years 2009-11, Laxton said.

“The revenue received may be used when the costs of such projects are reasonably anticipated to lead to further economic development of the county,” Laxton said. “The projects have to be approved by the Wyoming County EDA, the Wyoming County Commission and, ultimately, the West Virginia Development Office.”

Officials are currently awaiting approval of a $200,000 federal brownfields grant, which will require $40,000 in matching funds, to assist with the costs of ridding the site of contaminates.

“There is one area of petroleum-impacted soil that will have to be removed, which means that the soil will have to be taken up, properly disposed of and new soil put back,” Laxton said.

“There are areas of hazardous material that will have to be covered up. The plan is to concrete or asphalt over those areas — depending on if the area is going to be where a building will be or where the road will be,” she said in a previous interview.

“There are no issues with the groundwater at this site, just on the surface, where the production area of the treatment plant was located,” she added.

“We most recently were awarded a $5,000 grant through the Northern Brownfields Assistance Center’s Project Buzz Program,” Laxton said.

“This will be to assist with naming, branding and marketing the site. We are going to partner with the Wyoming County Career and Technical Center for the logo of the site.”

Graphics department students will assist with the logo design and an award will be offered, she said.

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Once the site cleanup and preparation have been completed, officials will construct buildings as funding becomes available — the same as was done on the Rockefeller  Industrial Park.

Area businesses are already requesting space, Laxton said.

The Rockefeller Industrial Park is at capacity with five businesses on the site, translating in about 100 jobs, Laxton said.

“There is a potential for a new building to be built on site that we have been working on for several months now and have hired Stafford Engineering, out of Princeton, to design for us,” she explained.

“This building currently has a business interested in locating there. So the park would remain at capacity with no expansion available.”

Current businesses include Gas Field Services, Montani Graphics, Holden Machine and Fabrication, Hatfield McCoy Southern Field Office, and Boxley Concrete.

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

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