Randolph, Upshur counties to receive millions in federal grant funds

By Roger Adkins

City Editor

ELKINS The development authorities in Randolph and Upshur counties will receive a combined total of more than $4 million for major business projects that will enhance the economies of both communities, according to information released by the federal government on Wednesday.

As part of President Barrack Obama’s ongoing efforts to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry and power sector, the administration announced awards totaling $38.8 million for 29 economic and workforce development projects in and across multiple states. The awards are administered by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). With these investments, it’s estimated that 3,418 jobs will be created or retained, and an additional $66,970,000 will be leveraged through investments from other public and private partners.

The Upshur County Development Authority will receive a $2,285,049 Economic Development Administration grant for the Upshur County Knowledge and Innovation Business Center. This project consists of the construction of the new Business Center on property donated by the City of Buckhannon, which will host a small business development center to be managed by the Upshur County Development Authority.

The Randolph County Development Authority will receive $1,822,500 total – $1,200,000 from an EDA grant and a $622,500 from an ARC grant – the Hardwood Cluster Manufacturing Expansion Project. POWER funds will be utilized to expand a major cabinet manufacturer’s operation by enabling the doubling of its current production rate due to a new national contract thereby creating 45 new jobs and adding $2,500,000 in annual wages to the regional economy. In addition, the award will strengthen the Hardwood Alliance Zone a nine-county region in Central West Virginia containing a cluster of hardwood businesses.