BDC works to improve local business climate

EDITORIALS JAN 28, 2016   The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle continues to collect important victories when it comes to its many local development projects. Recently, it was announced that the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation – a private entity – has selected two Northern Panhandle projects to receive $3,000 each in grant funding. The former Brooke Glass site in Wellsburg and the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor site in Chester were among only five projects to receive such grants. These long-vacant properties are well on their way to a future use for the benefit of their communities and area residents, as funding from the government and private foundations has been used to remediate any contaminants and go through the demolition process while also marketing the sites to a variety of business interests. Local government officials and private citizens have been involved in much of the planning and discussion. The awards also will provide technical assistance for financing and marketing, and assistance from the West Virginia Development Office and the state Historic Preservation Office. It takes time for any kind of development project to bear fruit, but the BDC is showing no signs of stopping with any of its efforts. These grants show that the work is being noticed, and it is the kind of attention our area needs in order to reinvent itself. The future of the Ohio Valley needs diversity in its business climate, with a goal of bringing in retail, hospitality, entertainment and several types of manufacturing to the region. It isn’t going to happen overnight, but we are well on our way down the path we need to follow.