October 28th, 2021
U.S. Department of Commerce announces $2 million investment in Morgantown Utility Board to spur local economic growth
On Thursday, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding its first local investment as part of the Coal Communities Commitment to the Morgantown Utility Board in Morgantown, W.Va. The $2 million American Rescue Plan grant will help create 300 jobs and generate $250 million in private investment to build a new beverage processing and packaging facility in the Morgantown Industrial Park.
This grant is awarded under EDA’s $300 million Coal Communities Commitment, which is funded by the historic $3 billion appropriation provided to EDA by the American Rescue Plan.
“This is an important moment for the Morgantown area. This investment will fund the extension of water services to the Morgantown Industrial Park,” said Morgantown Utility Board Chairman JT Straface. “While the initial investment will assist with the development of the Mountaintop Beverage Company, the water line and corresponding infrastructure will have far reaching impacts in terms of supporting future growth.”
The water line extension involves installation of a booster station, construction of a water tank, and water lines of various sizes. In addition, a sanitary sewer line extension is also required. The sanitary sewer project involves construction of two pump stations and directional drilling beneath the Monongahela River for installation of a gravity fed sewer line. This line will connect with the current interceptor sewer that runs along the river to the Star City Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Plans for the construction of the water and sewer projects have been developed by E.L. Robinson Engineering out of Charleston, West Virginia. The plans for the sewer work are expected to go out for bid the last week of October. Bids for the water line project will follow once authority to receive bids is received from the EDA.
According to MUB General Manager Mike McNulty, when the water and sewer line projects are completed and businesses connect, MUB will not financially benefit from the work for five years.
“West Virginia Public Service Commission rules require that all revenue over costs of providing service be remitted to the project funding sources for a period of five years. This means that, at the earliest, MUB will not realize income until at least late 2027,” McNulty said.
However, as is the case with most MUB projects, this is less about immediate returns as it is an investment into the future of the Morgantown area.
“The EDA’s investment in our community will benefit the Morgantown area for generations to come. This is not about MUB. This is about ensuring the future through construction of infrastructure that makes growth possible. The Morgantown area’s future is bright and we’re happy to play such a significant role in its ongoing success,” McNulty said. “These are indeed exciting times for the area.”