Sheetz, rail trail among new projects

ELKINS – The Randolph County Development Authority is pleased by current economic development projects in the area, including upcoming construction on a Sheetz store on the Beverly Five-Lane as well as finalizing a rail trail extension project.

“It is my understanding the construction crew working on remodeling the Philippi (Sheetz) store will move into Elkins once they complete the Philippi store,” Randolph County Development Authority Executive Director Robbie Morris said. “I have heard the end of June but it may be a month or so off.”

The Sheetz will be located on Plantation Drive, parallel to the Plantation Plaza and down the hill from the Hampton Inn hotel.

The store will focus on fuel, convenience store products and made-to-order food, officials said.

“We are hoping (for the store) to be open by the end of the year, sometime in December,” Morris added.

Another big project currently underway is the finalizing of the route of the rail trail connector to create a safe passageway from the current end of the Allegheny Highland Trail to downtown’s Elkins Depot Welcome Center.

“We finalized the route and are now waiting on engineers to get all the documents necessary to get environmental approval,” Morris said. “Once that is done we will put it out to bid in the first months of 2015 and hope to begin construction in spring of 2015.”

Morris said the top goal with the rail-trail connector is safety, but noted it will also enhance the look of U.S. Route 219 coming into Elkins.

“Hopefully, we could plant red maple trees,” Morris said. “There will be a big thoroughfare into town. It will allow people to walk to work, ride their bikes to work and feel safe doing so.”

“It’s going to be a great asset for Elkins and Randolph County – for recreational tourism, for workforce commuter patterns in the Highland Park area, for safe routes to school. Kids will have a safe walk path.

“Davis & Elkins College students will have access, too,” Morris added. “They can come down the hill and get on the trail and ride all the way to Parsons.”