“We are excited to have them,” MCRA Chairman Mike Whitt said. “We closed the deal with them Feb. 13. They will start hiring employees in three or four weeks. They will start with about 20 people, and hope to grow to 80 to 100 employees in three to five years.”
David Akers, president of the King Coal Highway Authority, spoke to the MCRA about a study his organization want to have done.
The road, which will connect Williamson with Beckley when finished, is a long term project for Mingo County. The highway I73/74, passes through five counties, Mingo, Wayne, Wyoming, McDowell and Mercer.
“The KCHA realizes we need an economic impact study. The cost of that study is $25,000,” Akers said. “Our Board pledged $5,000, both Wayne County and Mingo County Commissions have contributed $3,000 each. We hope to obtain $3,000 from the other three counties. We need an additional $5,000 to complete the study.
”The MCRA agreed to contribute the remaining $5,000 needed for the economic impact study.
Whitt also updated the authority on the status of several projects, such as the Mingo County Air Transportation Park.
A business plan has been developed for the park, which shows a lot of potential, Whitt said. He explained he hoped the park can benefit from President Obama’s new economic stimulus plan.
“We are in a great position with the airport,” Whitt said. “It is a ‘shovel ready’ project, and I feel there is a great possibility we can get some funding for that.”
Whitt also spoke about the coal-to-liquid fuel project planned for the county. He said air and water testing is moving ahead, and Appalachian Power is working with the Authority to lay the groundwork for getting power to the site.
One of the next steps in that project is a series of Town Hall meetings designed to help the MCRA keep the public informed about the planned facility, and receive feedback about potential conerns.
“We want to be completely transparent,” Whitt said. “We want everyone to know how this is going to affect the county.”