Infrastructure grants to finance longstanding projects across the state

CLAY, W.Va. — More than $33 million in infrastructure grants are headed to some long talked about projects in West Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice announced the grants from the West Virginia Water Development Authority last week that will cover 17 different projects.

Clay County will receive $1.4 million to finance the completion of the Clay County Courthouse Annex in Clay.

The facility has been sitting largely vacant since the 2016 flood. Clay County Commission President David Schoolcraft said it was under construction when the flood struck and it hasn’t been finished.

“It was in the process of being built, so that building other than just the corner where our 911 center sits, the rest of the building is stripped down to studs and has never been finished,” he said.

The new office space was destined to become the home of the Clay County magistrate offices and the sheriff’s department. Instead, for the past nearly seven years, Schoolcraft said they have been sitting in a state of limbo.

“They are currently located in the old courthouse which is a building that is completely and totally falling apart,” he explained. “The old courthouse is not ADA compliant, so if you need to go see the magistrate, it’s hard to get a wheelchair or anything in there.”

The county was already struggling to find funding to finish the annex when the flood wiped out what had already been done. Schoolcraft said the county’s funding source took a significant hit with the local coal mines closed down. The grant from the Water Development Authority will help finish the much needed project.

Westover will get $2 million

Westover Director of Public Works Jason Stinespring said the money will be used to reduce the amount financed for the reconstruction of 2,000 feet of Holland Avenue between the estimated cost of $3.8 million and the $1.9 million in American Rescue Plan funding committed to the project.

“That $2 million will help fill in that gap, so there’s a lot less money we have to borrow, so that’s definitely good news,” Stinespring said.

Before the road work can begin, there will be an extensive sewer project up Holland Avenue and the replacement of a lift station that connects the town to the Morgantown Utility Board (MUB) treatment facilities. Because the work is likely to begin next spring, city officials remain in talks with DOH to possibly overlay that section of road this year. The city would reimburse the DOH by doing the surface paving upon completion.

“The road is in very bad shape, and believe me, we drive on it as much as anybody. I’m up and down that road all day long,” Stinespring said. “It’s very encouraging, and we want to get this done and move on to the next project.”

The traffic maintenance plan for the project is still being developed. Holland Avenue is the major thoroughfare between Morgantown and Westover, and now that Mountaintop Beverage is in full operation with no direct access to I-79 traffic, this could be an even larger issue. Stinespring said officials are looking at ways to keep the main artery open during construction with ramps and temporary surfaces, but it appears most of the work will be done at night.

“I think the best option, if we can work it out with the state, is to work at night,” Stinespring said.

Full list of projects include:

Norton, Harding, Jimtown PSD — $1,100,000
This will allow the PSD to complete a part of its water project.

New Martinsville — $548,460
This will allow New Martinsville to complete a $2.7 million sewer project.

Ranson — $588,674
This will allow Ranson to complete a $2.7 million storm sewer project.

Harrisville — $785,000
This will allow Harrisville to upgrade its sewer system treatment plant and collection system.

Preston County PSD — $600,000
This will allow the county to complete upgrades to its sewer system.

Mason County PSD — $960,783
This will allow the county to complete its $25 million project to extend the sewer system to the Apple Grove area and provide sewer extension for Economic Development.

Clay — $1,855,895
This will allow the town to rehabilitate the sewer system.

Cowen PSD — $2,595,050
This will allow the PSD to construct a sewer collection system and also serve approximately 161 new customers. The total project cost is $9,995,050.

Clay County Courthouse Annex — $1,450,000
This will allow Clay County to update and complete the judicial annex after the 2016 flood damaged the courthouse.

Triadelphia — $1,225,000
This funding will allow them to complete $3 million in sewer system improvements.

Charles Town Utility Board — $1,620,000
This funding will allow them to complete an $8.1 million project to upgrade the sewer system collection system project.

Westover — $2,000,000
The funding will allow them to complete an $8.2 million project for the storm sewers, sewer lines, and lift station projects.

Chief Logan Rec Center — $4,500,000
The money will be used to upgrade the Chief Logan Recreation Center.

West Virginia University Research Corporation — $1,500,000
The funding will transform the former Fayette County Elementary School gymnasium into a 5,000 square feet office space as part of the Ascend WV program.

Doddridge County Dept. of Corrections — $1,683,000
The funds will upgrade the wastewater pretreatment plant at the North Central Regional Jail and Correctional Facility.

Mineral County Development Authority — $470,095
This will fund the installation of a fire pump station and upgrade the sprinkler system for a warehouse to support existing businesses.

Sistersville Healthcare Facility — $9,478,015
This $9.4 million grant and additional funding from the Memorial Health System will fund approximately $30 million for a new Sistersville General Hospital.

MetroNews reporter Chris Lawrence contributed to this story. 

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