Hancock County, Weirton see increase in hotel taxes

NEW CUMBERLAND — Tourism and hotel room use for Hancock County and Weirton were up over the past year, according to Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Dan Greathouse.

During Thursday’s meeting with the Hancock County Commission, Greathouse presented the bureau’s annual report, including the profit and loss statements for the year, and stated that hotel/motel taxes for the county were up by $2,000, while a 10-15 percent increase was experienced in Weirton, along with an increase in attendance at the Weirton Event Center.

“I can tell you now that if you’re looking at tourism, hotel rooms are up,” Greathouse said. “I can tell you that attendance at the event center is up, and if you look at these other events like Community Days and everything else that’s going on, you can see that tourism is up.”

Among the events pointed out by Greathouse that added to the success were the opening of the Davis Brothers Pharmacy Pavilion at Chester City Park, which had its grand opening during the city’s Fourth of July celebration and is available for concerts throughout the year. He also mentioned cabins put in at Brooke Hills Park which will be rented.

Greathouse also reported that $23,700 was raised this year for the Wheeling Symphony for its summer concert.

Greathouse stated that based on statistics through Google Analytics, the bureau received several hits on their Facebook page in July, mostly related to outdoors and adventure.

Meanwhile, in other matters, the commission approved a request from the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department for Hancock County to merge into the newly combined Medical Reserve Corps unit.

The Hancock County unit will merge with Wetzel-Tyler County, Marshall County, Ohio County and Brooke County into one unit which will be known as the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia MRC Unit and will be based out of Ohio County.

In a letter from MRC coordinator Wayland Harris, several units throughout the Northern Panhandle addressed the idea of combining several units in order to better serve residents due to recent cuts in funding from the National MRC program along with the reduction of available volunteers assisting in times of disasters.

All leftover funds for the Hancock MRC can be transferred into the new merged unit and will be used for training.

In addition, the commission approved the advertisement of the position of part-time families and community development program assistant for the West Virginia University Extension Service Office.

The position serves as a member of the WVU Hancock County Extension Officer with the WVU Extension Service as an employee of the Hancock County Commission. This person will be responsible for planning, families and community development programs.

In order to qualify, applicants must have at least a high school diploma although an associate degree in science or a related field or equivalent is preferred, preferably have experience working with educational and community-based programs, must have a valid driver’s license, lift up to 25 pounds and pass a criminal background check as they will work directly with youth.

All resumes and references must be submitted no later than Sept. 30 to WVU Extension Office, Attn: Carole Scheerbaum, P.O. Box 457, New Cumberland, WV 26047.