Senator Shelley Moore Capito tours Raleigh County Memorial Airport development site

BEAVER, WV (WOAY) – “I think there’s a great vision here and I just wanted to see how it was progressing.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito is the head Republican on a Senate committee working with Appalachian Regional Commission and the United States Economic Development Administration. On Monday, she visited the Raleigh County Memorial Airport to tour the site of upcoming infrastructure upgrades, funded primarily by those two groups, that will create over 600 jobs in the county.

“I did not realize how much development is already here,” Capito said. “There’s still lots of room for development.”

Last month, the upgrades to the airport received full funding in the amount of $8.3 million. Jina Belcher with the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority feels that having Senator Capito visit the site marks an important step as preparation for development begins.

“She sees the full picture of the potential of this airport and the area,” Belcher said. “We really appreciate her continued support.”

Many of the jobs that these upgrades will create are targeted for young people, near college age through their 20’s. Senator Capito recognizes the importance of employing those in this age range, so that they can sustain themselves in Southern West Virginia.

“I think it really will bring students in, but they’re going to have jobs when they finish,” Capito said. “And they’re going to have lifelong jobs. That’s, I think, what’s the best.”

Having a site that is ready for development in the airport attracted funding from ARC and the USEDA. With these groups on board, bringing in more companies and creating those jobs becomes much more realistic.

“We are using this again as a pilot project to prove that, if we have that ready infrastructure and the site is ready, we can quickly turn around recruitment and create new jobs,” Belcher said.

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