RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Raleigh County Memorial Airport received two grants totaling over two million dollars.
Last week, Governor Jim Justice announced two sizable grants to help expand infastructure around the Raleigh County Memorial Aiport.
“This is another thing that the citizens of Raleigh county don’t have to fund themselves because of we really wanted to make the land valuable, we would have seeked to do that anyway, just like we seeked to put the sewer and the water out there, we would’ve wanted to get broadband out there. So to get a grant from the governor issued to us, it’s gray. It’s free pie,” says Raleigh County Commissioner Ron Hedrick.
The news brought excitement to the airport, especially those working to breathe new life into the area with more businesses.
“I’m just very complimentary of everyone that’s involved in this project and what it will do. In all of my years here, this is my most exciting part,” says airport manager Tom Cochran.
In the early 90s and 2000s, Cochran says the airport was booming along with the coal industry. Now it’s much quieter.
The land behind the airport is currently underdeveloped, but officials hope to draw in business in the aerospace industry that would benefit from operating next to the runway
“We want to look at the aerospace as a whole and what potential manufacturing companies and even distribution companies are out there interested in locating in an industrial park that is adjacent to an existing runway,” says deputy director of NRGRDA Jina Belcher.
It’ll take a total of 8.4 million dollars to fund this project to develop the 105 acres, but Belcher says they expect more funding is expected to come soon and they should be able to complete the project debt free.
“Now we are we are actually in phase one of the environmental study that’s being completed now. Once that’s completed we’ll move on to the earth work and that’s probably looking at October or November of this year to start moving dirt to develop the property.”