CLARKSBURG,W.Va. (WV News) — The Harrison County Commission is set to receive a $2.6 million federal grant that is expected to help create 200 jobs and generate $4 million in additional private investment, the offices of Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, announced Friday.
The $2.6 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant will be matched with $1.3 million in local funds to help build and establish a clean-energy products manufacturing facility, creating jobs while also spurring private investment in the community, according to a press release.
“This announcement is exciting news for Clarksburg and demonstrates the strength of our state’s manufacturing base,” said Capito. “This investment is expected to help create 200 jobs and expand new markets for coal. The EDA’s involvement in West Virginia has increased exponentially since I came to the Senate, and I appreciate their continued support.”
“Every West Virginian continues to be impacted by the changing energy sector, especially our coal communities,” said Manchin. “EDA is investing $2.6 million to create an advanced energy products manufacturing facility in Clarksburg, which will create at least 200 good-paying jobs for West Virginians, generate additional private investment and boost economic growth in hard-hit communities.
The funds will be used to develop a 50,000-square-foot building on an approximately 8.85-acre portion of the planned Harrison Regional Industrial Park.
The Harrison Regional Industrial Park, located near North Central West Virginia Airport, sits on approximately 24 acres purchased by the county commission through the Harrison County Development Authority.
The Harrison County Economic Development Corporation applied for the grant.
“This is huge for this area, and we’re extremely excited,” said HCEDC Executive Director Amy Haberbosch Wilson. “It’s growing the area; it’s growing the jobs; and it’s growing the population. And we’re improving the infrastructure that’s going to be there.”
The company that will occupy the 50,000-square-foot building already has a presence in West Virginia, Wilson said.
“So this will be an expansion, and this will actually be the manufacturing part of it,” she said. “It’s going to be energy storage systems and high-grade electronic inks and coding that will be used for batteries. It’s going to be a world-wide project, from what we’re told. This technology actually needs coal to create this activated hard carbon for the batteries. So it’s an awesome project to have right here in coal country.”
The aim of the project and the Harrison Regional Industrial Park is help rebuild the region’s manufacturing sector, Wilson said.
“It’s really going to be the forefront of green technology,” she said. “I know what a lot of people are talking about is green living and green technology. We’re even looking at possible additional funding for some of this green technology, but this is a start to bringing back some of these manufacturing jobs and rebuilding our manufacturing here.”
In January, the county commission voted unanimously to set aside $1.4 million in county funds to help the HCEDC secure the federal funding for the project.
The grant application required that the applicant show proof the funds are available; the loans couldn’t be approved until the grant was secured, HCEDC board member and Bridgeport Mayor Andy Lang said at the time.
To solve that issue, the HCEDC asked the county to show proof of funds that the money is available for the project.
“If we receive the grant, before we ever draw out any funds or start the construction, we will go borrow the money. If we’re unable to borrow the money, we won’t accept the grant. But we can’t apply for the grant or borrow the money … unless we have proof of matching funds,” Lang said.