Mercer County looking into constructing new convention center

PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – The Mercer County Commission is looking into a location for a new convention center.

For years, Mercer County has been using the National Guard Armory in Brush Fork as an event center. But recently the county commission has begun searching for a new location to host events. According to Greg Puckett with the County Commission, the old location has some drawbacks, and they want to look into something brand new. 

“We’ve used the Brush Fork Armory for everything and it’s been a great partnership. But it’s kind of out of the way, technologically it’s kind of dated, and so we really need to find a new venue that would give us additional opportunities,” Puckett said.

The first step of finding a new location is a feasibility study. The county will look into potential locations and gauge interest and cost for each one. 

“Whenever we put money and resources available and we go after additional grants and things, [we ask] where is the best possible place, and what is the trajectory or magnitude of the potential venue?”

Some of the locations they’re considering are in traffic hotspots, like off nearby interstates. According to Puckett, a new convention center would drive a lot more interest for Mercer County in the form of large events, which the county typically doesn’t see often.  

“We’ve even thought about doing these large shows. ATV shows, boat shows, truck shows, things like that. Things that normally go to larger municipalities. But because we don’t have that here, we can’t draw that. And it’s been proven that if you draw that kind of venue here, then you can grow the economy based around wherever that venue is located.”

After the feasibility study, the county will look into funding opportunities for each potential location. There are plenty of state and federal organizations that support rural development, and the county will inquire with different ones to secure funding. But currently there’s no idea as to how much this new center might cost, as it would depend on the chosen location.

The commission is also planning on creating an entirely new building for the convention center, rather than remodeling an old one.