BDC makes water tie-in contribution

WELLSBURG – Representatives of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, on Friday, presented to the Brooke County Commission a contribution for an emergency tie-in between three water systems and reported on efforts to bring new businesses to the county. Pat Ford, the BDC's executive director; and John Frankovitch, a member of its executive board; presented a $6,750 check to the commission for the tie-in project. Ford said improving the county's infrastructure is vital to attracting new businesses. Article Photos CHECK PRESENTED. Representatives of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle presented $6,750 to the Brooke County Commission toward the cost of an emergency tie-in for water systems in the Hammond Public Service District, Beech Bottom and Wellsburg. Taking part were, from left, County Commissioner Jim Andreozzi, John Frankovitch, a member of the BDC's executive board; Pat Ford, BDC executive director; and County Commissioners Stacey Wise and Tim Ennis. — Warren Scott   The contribution includes an earlier amount pledged by the BDC and additional dollars to offset a $5,000 increase from the cost estimated for the project. “This will close the gap,” said County Commissioner Jim Andreozzi. He noted the $167,684 project also is being supported with funds from the city of Wellsburg, village of Beech Bottom, Hammond Public Service District, West Virginia Infrastructure Council; Chesapeake Energy; the office of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin; Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino and Racetrack; and the county commission, through its economic development authority. The commission, Beech Bottom and Wellsburg also contributed to the $11,000 cost for its design by E.L. Robinson Engineering of Charleston. James White Construction of Weirton is the contractor for the project, which involves the extension of water lines between Wellsburg and Hammond Public Service District on state Route 67 and between Hammond and Beech Bottom along state Route 2 near the dog kennels. The tie-ins will allow each water provider to tap into another source if their service is disrupted by flooding, line breaks or other emergencies. The project also was to include a tie-in between Wellsburg and Hammond, but those two parties have since created one under state Route 27 at their expense. Officials said the tie-ins could benefit more than 13,000 water customers. Ford also reported on efforts to fill the former Wheeling Corrugating Plant with new businesses. He said a $30,000 investment has been made to replace two garage doors and upgrade two 15-ton cranes at the plant to accommodate a new tenant, Pre-Coat Metals of Weirton. Ford said the business, which specializes in the coating of steel coils, has signed a short-term lease for the site at this time while continuing to operate in Weirton. Ford said the two cranes had sat unused at the plant for three years but, with some electrical improvements, are in operation again. He said the BDC is negotiating with two energy companies and a retail company interested in opening at the plant's site. Ford said the BDC expects to seek bids soon for the removal of the former Brooke Glass factory in Wellsburg. The agency has been awarded $250,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for that purpose, and a company has expressed interest in the site, he said. In other business: Commission President Tim Ennis said the County Commissioners Association conference held in Morgantown earlier this week was very informative. He and County Commissioner Stacey Wise said a highlight for them was a tour of the $8 million Lewis County Judicial Annex, which houses the county's circuit, magistrate and family courts, sheriff's department, prosecutor's office and affiliated offices. The commissioners have discussed bringing the county's circuit, magistrate and family courts together under one roof again, possibly by expanding the current courthouse south. With that in mind, the commission has removed two old houses between the courthouse and the former county museum at the corner of Sixth and Main streets. Ennis said the county's building commission may consider razing the former museum, which once was a tavern and inn serving visitors to the Wellsburg Wharf area, to make room for a new, larger building. He said no decision has been made yet. Ennis said such a complex could be built away from the present