FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Those with a high-tech research consortium in northern West Virginia say they are being slighted on state funding when it comes to dollars spent on high-tech research. Members of the Affiliate Leadership Group/Council which represents more than 140 members of the high technology community in northern West Virginia recently drafted a letter to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and the leadership of the state House and Senate.
“We’ve been attempting to reach out to the state for the past several years to try and encourage the state to give us additional funding to do more outreach and marketing,” said Board Member John Dahlia.
Dahlia said the High Tech Research Park in Fairmont has become very successful over the years, but very little is known about the facility. The anchors of the area include the FBI Fingerprint facility, NASA, NIOSH, and NIH. All of those were brought to the state in past years by the work of the state’s Congressional delegation. But Dahlia said they have increased the park’s magnitude by attracting other private investment from around the world.
“The main focus of our frustration has been the state’s willingness in our mind to blindly put millions and millions of dollars into the South Charleston Research and Technology Park essentially just to keep the lights on,” Dahlia said. “When you compare the two, it’s really like comparing a strawberry and a prune.”
Dahlia said while the Fairmont group is grateful for the past support, they are frustrated at a lack of any substantial increase to help with promotion and marketing. The group believes some of the money used at the South Charleston facility should be directed their way and would be a much more robust investment.
“We’re not looking at that same investment, we’re looking at something more than what we’ve gotten in the past,” Dahlia said. “What’s happening in South Charleston’s technology park is almost non-existent to what’s happening up here.”