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Bid for Park Drive project to go before council

WEIRTON — Weirton Council is set to vote next week on an ordinance for the infrastructure work of a new commercial development in the city.

The city’s Finance Committee, during its meeting Monday, agreed to recommend the ordinance for a contract with James White Construction for the infrastructure of the Park Drive development site, located near Three Springs Drive.

The contract, as proposed, would cost $2,653,565. It must be approved by council to go into effect.

“This was significantly more than we had originally talked about,” Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel said, noting there had been several delays in the process, including as a result of COVID.

The costs of construction material has increased in the interim, Weigel explained.

“Anyone who is trying to build anything knows that,” he said, adding while he knows the project needs to move forward, he has concerns of spending so much. This portion of the project will include only the infrastructure, including roads, parking areas and utility lines.

The city will be tasked with maintaining those elements of the development.

Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh agreed there had been delays on the project, noting he had requested in the spring of 2020 to have a groundbreaking that summer.

“Whatever excuse there is, we have to pay the price,” Marsh said. “It won’t be the first time.”

It was noted, more than $3 million is available through the city’s Tax Increment Financing fund, with revenue coming from taxes on the TIF District over the Three Springs Business Park. The development, to be built across from the entrance of the Wal-Mart Supercenter, is located within the TIF district.

In addition, Finance Director Diana Smoljanovich explained the fund receives approximately $400,000 a year, and will be in effect for another 13 or 14 years.

Ward 6 Councilman Enzo Fracasso explained he will be recusing himself from the vote as a family member is an official at James White Construction.

Council held a work session July 20 to discuss the project, which began through the efforts of Park Drive Development LLC and the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle. McKinley and Associates serves as main contractor.

The Park Drive development is proposed to include multiple structures featuring both retail and residential spaces. The initial phase of the development will be located on 7.2 acres along Park Drive. A grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration also will assist with the funding for the project.

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