As mayors, city council members and other city officials from all over the state gathered at Oglebay Resort on Tuesday for the West Virginia Municipal League Annual Conference, Wheeling officials took away new wisdom to improve the city from workshops, speakers and government members from other cities.
Mayor Glenn Elliott explained that the event is “always a great opportunity” to get together with mayors and council members from across the state, adding that there is “no copyright law” preventing him from copying their city policies and applying them to Wheeling.
“I come to these meetings with the idea of learning what these other cities are doing,” explained Elliot. “I see what cities are having success and then try to follow that model.”
Vice Mayor Chad Thalman echoed Eliott’s viewpoint on the importance of the conference, as he comes to the conference to get to know other mayors and city council members who can become a “resource for them.”
“Here, we are able to meet with officials who can give us ideas, and we can call them in the future if we run into a similar problem,” added Thalman.
— The Intelligencer/ Wheeling News-Register
The city of Wheeling, the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority and the Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED) are poised to move forward with significant upgrades at WesBanco Arena.
During tonight’s meeting of Wheeling City Council, a new ordinance is being introduced authorizing Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron to enter into a memorandum of understanding with RED for costs associated with construction, remodeling and relocation of the commercial kitchen and the additional construction of a loge suite project, featuring premium enclosed seats, to enhance the WesBanco Arena facility.
“The Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority met and considered this project on July 14,” Herron said on Monday. “They unanimously approved of the project and requested favorable consideration by city council.”
Herron explained that this project would create a new addition with loge seating in the 300 level at the north end of the arena’s seating bowl. The job will also expand the current kitchen located in the club area of the arena into a full service kitchen.
“The third part of the project is the elimination of the permanent railing in the first row of the east and west side 200-level seats and replacement with a removable railing,” Herron said. “This clears up a major sight line problem that has basically rendered these seats unacceptable.”
— The Intelligencer/ Wheeling News-Register
The Preston County Board of Education approved a tentative timeline for the school excess levy renewal which is set to expire June 30, 2024.
The BOE members voted 4-0 in favor of starting the process to convene a levy renewal committee. Member Pam Feathers was absent.
“At the request of Mrs. (Pam) Feathers, she asked me to bring this forward so work can begin in convening a levy renewal committee,” Superintendent Brad Martin said. “And, to begin development of a possible levy.”
The Preston County Schools’ excess levy was passed by voters in 2019. Voters passed a five-year, $22.5 million levy which was broken down into $4.5 million per year.
The levy has been used for maintenance, operational expenses, safety/security, classroom teachers, technology expenses, curricular/extracurricular activities, instructional supplies, after-school/virtual education program and community facility use.
Year 2019 was the first time in more than 10 years, Preston County voters elected to enact an excess levy for the schools. The 350-vote margin of victory follows a pair of close losses — by 376 votes in 2017 and 98 votes in 2018.
Superintendent Brad Martin put together the timeline that he said could be accelerated if the board would direct it.
— Preston County News and Journal
A groundbreaking ceremony for Commercial Metals Company (CMC) West Virginia, a next-generation electric arc furnace (EAF) micro mill in northern Berkeley County, was held Thursday morning.
Gov. Jim Justice traveled to the Eastern Panhandle to welcome CMC Chairman of the Board Barbara Smith and CMC staff personally. He was joined by state, county and local officials to celebrate the start of the project, which was budgeted to cost approximately $450 million in net incentives.
The site, located in Falling Waters, was selected by CMC in December 2022 to be the home of its fourth micro mill. A new facility will be constructed on the property, which once housed the DuPont Potomac River Works facility.
CMC Northeast Division Vice President Brian Halloran served as the emcee for the welcoming event.
“On behalf of the entire CMC team, we’re delighted to welcome you here today to help roll out plans for this new mill,” he said.
Barbara Smith, CMC chairman of the board and CEO, said, “We are here to officially break ground and start construction of CMC’s fourth innovative micro mill right here in Berkeley County, West Virginia.”
Smith said approximately 60 locations across several states were considered for the new mill. The shared community values are what drew the company to Berkeley County, along with a diverse community workforce.
— The Journal
The Clear Fork Rail Trail project, located in the northwestern corner of Raleigh County, is on schedule to be completed this year.
Molly Williams, the county’s parks and recreation executive director, provided the update during a Raleigh County Commission meeting Tuesday.
“I think we’re right on track on the timeline,” Williams said. “(The contractors) haven’t asked for any additional days.”
The first phase of the Clear Fork Rail Trail is just under eight miles and follows the former CSX railbed along W.Va. 1 in Raleigh County between the unincorporated communities of Jarrolds Valley and Ameagle.
In March, Raleigh commissioners approved a $1.6 million bid from Aspen Corporation in Daniels to construct the first phase of the rail trail.
Although the railroad tracks were removed some time ago, Williams said crews have been working to clear either side of the railbed to create a clear and easily traversable path.
Williams said she has been monitoring the progress on the trail since contractors started earlier in the year.
Phase 1 of the Clear Fork Rail Trail is expected to take six months, which means it will likely be completed sometime this fall.
Raleigh County has received grant funding for construction of phase one of the rail trail and has also contributed funds of its own.
— The Register-Herald
The City of Parkersburg recognizes the pressing challenges related to housing shortages in the community and to be proactive, the administration has taken steps to encourage development across all sectors of housing needs.
The City of Parkersburg has made available the New Housing Construction Tax Credit Program, a targeted effort to further incentivize the construction of new housing units. This initiative provides tax credits to contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers who undertake the construction of residential properties, without any particular focus on rent restricted developments.
The Rental Rehab Program was designed to assist owners of residential rental properties. This program provides financial assistance to property owners who rehabilitate their properties and, in return, commit to renting to eligible tenants for a minimum of five years.
Rehabilitation loans are deferred and forgivable after the initial 5-year term. At the end of the loan term, the loan is converted to a grant. This program seeks to revitalize existing rental units, correct building code violations, enhance energy efficiency, and make housing more accessible for persons with disabilities.
— Parkersburg News and Sentinel
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Behavioral Health has launched the BBH Clearinghouse.
The clearinghouse is an online database of evidence-based practices to help individuals, families, providers, schools, communities, and other partners make informed decisions about selecting effective prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery services.
The BBH Clearinghouse is funded through grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Approximately two years in the making, the BBH Clearinghouse was created through extensive research by subject matter experts, graduate assistants, and Marshall University faculty; feedback from a collaborative advisory workgroup; and coordination by BBH staff, Community Access, and Terzetto Creative.
Originally commissioned to review behavioral health services for children, youth, and young adults, the Clearinghouse accepts requests to review services for people of all ages.
“West Virginians deserve knowledge of and access to quality behavioral health services,” said Dawn Frohna, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health. “The BBH Clearinghouse is a tool to save time when exploring and implementing behavioral health services proven to have positive outcomes.”
— WV News