Broadband progress tops RCDA discussion

ELKINS — Members of the Randolph County Development Authority discussed the progress of broadband in the area Wednesday.

The project, which will benefit several counties in the region, is “going well” according to RCDA Executive Director Robbie Morris.

“Now that everything has been approved, we’ve had meetings with the (United States Department of Agriculture) and all of that — we’ve been meeting with land owners, working on getting leases for the tower sites signed,” Morris said following the RCDA’s regular meeting. “So far everything seems to be going well there. We’re working on the construction timetable with Micrologic and also getting some of the construction financing in place with the grants.”

In 2016, the Randolph County Development Authority, along with the Barbour County Development Authority and the Upshur County Development Authority, formed together as the Central West Virginia Development Association to create the largest project proposal to be submitted to the United States Development Authority’s Community Connect program.

In July of this year, some $3 million worth of funding was approved, which was matched by $450,000, to expand broadband service in Randolph, Barbour and Upshur counties.

Morris previously reported of 72 applicants across the United States that requested $119 million for projects, nine projects were awarded for just over $10 million. In addition, he also said during a meeting in July, the areas in Randolph County that would be covered include Mabie, Cassity, Coalton, Norton, Dailey, Valley Bend and areas around Beverly, including Kings Run Road, and areas around Camp Pioneer.

Approximately 9,000 people will be served in Randolph County, which includes approximately 3,700 to 3,800 households.

Also during Wednesday’s RCDA meeting:

• For the 24th straight year, the Development Authority received the Local Economic Development grant. Morris said there are no restrictions included in this grant other than the funds must be used for RCDA operations. The grant received was in the amount of $20,000.

• The board met in executive session for 30 minutes to discuss real estate.