TWIN BRANCH — Enthusiasm filled the room as members of the Mingo County Commission gathered Tuesday afternoon at the Mingo County Courthouse to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would make the long awaited Twin Branch Motorsports Complex more of a reality than a dream. Collaboration between state and county officials, private businesses, and race enthusiast supporters has moved this project into the fast lane.
The MOU is an agreement between The Mingo County Commission (MCC), The Mingo County Redevelopment Authority (MCRA), The Logan County Commission, The Corridor G Regional Development Authority and Consol Energy, Inc. to focus their efforts and resources on the project. This project is a win for all parties involved and will bring major economic development to the region.
The MCC will disburse $300,000 dollars to the MCRA who holds the deed to the property, LCC will contribute $200,000. The Corridor G regional Development Authority will oversee the project. Consol Energy Inc. will enter into a public/private partnership with Corridor G and has already invested $2,000,000 dollars in the property for land development.
Mingo County Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith started the discussion by offering sincere appreciation to associated affiliates. He stated that without the assistance of State Senator Art Kirkendoll and Consol Energy, Inc. the progress made up to this point would not be possible. The complexity of the project has hindered progress in the past, now all parties involved are showing eagerness to contribute. “This is not just a Mingo County project, this benefits everything and everyone in the region” said Smith.
The Race track itself will be unlike anything else available to area racers. An important Individual from the IHRA was brought from his home in Texas to inspect track design specifications, in order to qualify Twin Branch for Sanctioned regional events. Reports say he was as stunned by the venue’s beauty as he was by the track design. The track will be a 1/8th mile track, although there will be plenty of unused area to further the length to a ¼ mile track should the operator of the complex desire. Corridor G will be in charge of advertising and selecting a suitable operator for the complex. Twin Branch will not be eligible to host sanctioned National events unless the track is extended to a quarter mile.
The completion of the track is estimated by late fall. Still yet to be finalized is plans of completing the complex which will include a twelve acre parking lot. President Smith stated the commission will ask the governor for 5,000,000 dollars from the state to fund the remaining expenses. The MCC employed an institute to perform an economic impact study which will be delivered to Governor Earl R. Tomblin per his request. The findings of that study have yet to be finalized although are in progress.
The Logan County Commission is scheduled to review and sign the MOU on the 27th of June, after the Logan County attorney has reviewed the documents. There are no negative expectations as to whether the LCC will not approve and join the others, according to Smith.
“Logan County stands to gain as much from the project as all others involved,” Smith said.
Despite the complexity of the political aspect and a few financial milestones left to overcome, the discussion ended with laughter and high spirits. The opportunity for progress has presented itself and the commission is ready for a green light.