Hoping for success

Hiring government consultants often can be a controversial move in our communities, especially when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars on projects residents might not always feel are necessary.

On too many occasions, money is spent to bring outside organizations into the area, only for few, if any, results to come out as being beneficial for the community.

We hope that is not going to be the case with Weirton Council’s recent decision to contract with Sustainable Strategies DC, a Washington, D.C.-based government affairs and strategic consulting firm, at a cost of $15,000.

In essence, Sustainable Strategies is a nationally known lobbying firm, which will be tasked with studying the Weirton community and coming up with a “roadmap” of potential improvement projects for the city. It can be anything from improvements to local roads, bridges and other infrastructure, to street light changes, to the creation of a business incubator or training center. If the consultants feel a project could be suitable for Weirton, they will suggest it.

Along the way, according to city officials, if the consultants know of any grants suitable for the city, they will recommend them.

City Manager Travis Blosser brought the idea forward, noting the success the city of Ranson, W.Va. has had with this organization, bringing in several million dollars in grants for projects while also lobbying the state Legislature for changes in law and other opportunities.

The city of Weirton, and the entire Ohio Valley for that matter, is in desperate need of a vision for the future.

Much has been promised over the years, bringing short-lived hope to our region, only to see a company choose a different area for their operations, or for a much-promoted project to end up as little more than a scam.

At the same time, there are groups which have been working hard to attract business opportunities here, and some have been successful.

We need that success to not only continue, but to grow. Our hope is this group will work with all those currently involved in those efforts, including government officials, development agencies, educational institutions, existing businesses and industries, as well as those who have expressed an interest in our area, and come up with a list of priority projects to assist in those continuing endeavors.

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