Expanding Technology, Community and Economic Growth in West Virginia

by Senator Brooks McCabe on June 9, 2010

In Praise of Boise - Economist GraphicAs West Virginia becomes more “wired” to the Internet and community development initiatives expand, the potential for economic growth will increase as well.

The state is primed to benefit from the rise of technology-based jobs, which can be conducted remotely from any place in the world, so long as a broadband connection exists.

Consider Boise, Idaho, recently featured by The Economist for its success recruiting high-tech companies and workers.

Similar to Idaho, the Mountain State has various assets that can enhance quality of life for companies and employees seeking relief from the rat-race of big cities.

The West Virginia Legislature’s Joint Commission on Economic Development is studying a proposal that would establish a Creative Communities Development Act, allowing cities and counties to receive state funding in the form of matching grants, for the following purposes:

  • To provide greater technological access among citizens, businesses, nonprofit entities, and governmental entities.
  • To develop community centers, along with arts, cultural and recreational facilities.
  • To make aesthetic improvements to existing infrastructure.
  • To develop programs that foster community inclusiveness, bridging ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural divides.

The above measure passed the state Senate during the 2010 regular legislative session, but failed to gain traction in the House.

However, the Joint Commission on Economic Development’s further exploration of the matter is encouraging, as many legislators and community groups remain committed to moving forward with such a program.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Adam Krason June 10, 2010 at 8:22 am

Agreed. Once the infrastructure is in place, quality of life issues make West Virginia an ideal location. WV has low crime rates, affordable housing, no communiting, friendly people, great cultural institutions like the WV Symphony and Mountain Stage, and a multitude of outdoor activities. We just need to keep reinforcing what is great about WV to improve the perception of our State.

2 Ryan White June 13, 2010 at 9:35 am

West Virginia has all of the space and outdoors amenities that is attractive for the Boise market plus the added benefit of being within 500 miles of all of the big cities in the midwest and east coast. Being a short plane ride from all of these cities would seem to make WV a more attractive destination for companies that are being attracted by Boise. WV may want to send a contingent to Boise to help understand the policy decisions that need to be made to attract these types of companies.

3 Marvin Vernatter July 22, 2010 at 8:41 am

It is well known that visitors are the key to economic growth, whether you have a shoe store or are engaged in diversifying an economy. The proposed Blair Mountain Historic Monument along with the Hatfield McCoy Trail system will help provide visitors who help our existing businesses and may return to open a business of their own, thereby creating jobs.

It will not be much help to have the monument if there is no room for parking and the visitors center. We have the opportunity to have a landmark post mining land use project on Blair Mountain.

Now how to pay for it? An amendment to the Cap and Trade Bill that requires a federal subsidy to be paid to West Virginia’s coal producing counties must be included before our Senators vote yes ( and I am sure they will bow to Harry Reed and do so ). These funds would be used to enhance our communities and facilitate economic diversification. Including the Blair Mountain Historic Monument.

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