The Brooke County Economic Development Authority announced plans this week to gather information about all property in the county which could be available for future economic development.
We agree this is a great idea and should be done as soon as possible.
It has been five years since an official inventory of such properties has been performed, and then it was limited only to vacant buildings in Follansbee. Prior to that, the last county-wide inventory was done in 2004 by E.L. Robinson Engineering.
We have several boards and organizations in our area which are constantly working to draw economic development opportunities to the Northern Panhandle, and some have had success. However, how can we provide a full picture of what we have available if we don't have all the information ourselves?
We often hear that companies have shown interest in the Ohio Valley but go with other options because of a lack of developable land. Efforts in Hancock County are being made through the purchase of several pieces of property by both the Business Development Corp. and the county commission.
The BDC also has been focusing on working with the state to promote the sites we have available for development, including the former Wheeling Corrugating plant in Beech Bottom. But again, if we don't know a piece of property is available, how can it be promoted?
We encourage all of our counties and communities to work together in gathering all the information possible to perform this inventory and hope it is helpful if attracting future business interests to our area.