Exit 1 Development Project hopes to see new business come to Bluefield

BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY) – The Exit 1 Development Project is a long term goal to develop business space in the City of Bluefield. 

The idea is to take much of the unused space near Exit 1 of Interstate 77 and fill it with local business. For years, the economic development authority has been working on a plan to develop build sites for future business in that area. 

According to Bluefield Economic Development Director Jim Spencer, the project has been a long time coming.

“About four years ago the city acquired land near Exit 1,” Spencer said. “It’s close to the interstate. We’ve also got to make sure the erosion sediment controls are in place and there’s no environmental problems. So we’ve spent quite a bit of time on engineering.”

The project has received $2 million in funding. $1 million from the federal government and $1 million from the city and other foundations. 

They’ll use the money to develop 12 acres of land near Exit 1.

The economic development authority is currently looking for businesses to be involved with the project and see the area develop. Spencer says the project is all about improving conditions to encourage companies to move in.

“When a company looks at an area, they want to see that they can be in that area quickly. And if you don’t have sites prepared so the company can acquire them and start building, then that delays you. And a lot of times they’ll just look for some other place that’s ready.”

The 12 acres of land are right off Exit 1 on John Nash Boulevard, which is the main way to reach downtown Bluefield from the interstate. 

The bid to begin construction on the project was finalized on Jan. 31 by the Bluefield Board of Directors, and was awarded to AMPECO, a company based in Elkview.

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