Economic development outlook for 2020

Published: Jan. 9, 2020 at 7:45 PM EST
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In his State of the State message Wednesday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice saluted several companies, including Hino Motors and Chemours, that announced or completed development in the past year.

But the director of the Wood County Economic Development Authority, Lindsey Piersol, said that wasn't the only economic expansion taking place in 2019.

"There were a big number of smaller manufacturing or industiral entities that added 1-10 jobs, or added a piece of equipment that helped them to increase profits or increase product," Piersol said Thursday. "I don't think that gets celebrated often, but they're big wins, too. They add to the economy slowly but surely."

Piersol says due to confidentiality agreements, companies looking at locating in the area can't be identified. But she is optimistic they could be coming in 2020.

"We're in a due diligence period, in my opinion with a couple of companies that, in my opinion, will be a significant amount of jobs."

One that has been discussed-for more than three years-is Menard's. And there has been progress in developing the area of Emerson Commons where the retail giant plans to locate a store.

"Recent additions have been a stoplight to the Emerson Commons property, as well as the Menard's sign that is hung up by the stone entryway," Piersol says. "We're hopeful they're going to be coming, there's a lot of parcels up there that, I think they have interest, contingent on Menard's being built. We want to see development happening, and we're rooting for them."

And she notes Grand Central Mall's redevelopment is the result of already high traffic in the Vienna area.