Cumberland Times-News

Local News

July 15, 2014

Director, president: Industrial park not a good fit

— KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Development Authority briefly discussed the possibility of a proposed industrial park at the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport during their meeting Tuesday.

Kevin Clark, executive director of MCDA, and Terry Liller, president, went to the airport and discovered the plan, which was completed by RK&K engineers in 2000. Clark then received a copy of the plan from Delta Air consultants.

“I agree with Kevin that the north end of the county has got a lot of room to develop. I’m not so sure that an industrial park at the airport is the best idea,” said W.Va. state Del. Gary Howell.

Howell, instead, suggested a commercial park at the airport with a hotel as a good fit should the airport decide to offer commercial air service.

Last year, Mona Ridder, former executive director of the development authority, presented the plan for the industrial park to the airport authority and stressed the importance of freight service. The park would likely have manufactured goods transported to the airport for distribution.

 Ridder discussed the possibility of an inland port on 300 acres of CSX property in Carpendale that would be necessary if the airport decided to use freight. 

Howell has been sending letters to fast food restaurants about the possibility of locating in Wiley Ford, where the airport is located.

“Economic development is a huge deal for me, and if I see opportunities, I write letters,” said Howell. “In the Wiley Ford area you are basically in a 5-mile radius of 40,000 population and you have high traffic counts coming through (Routes) 28 and 28 alternate intersection. We have to develop that area.

“If you have people coming to the airport as a destination, then there is more of a reason for somebody to build a business there and take advantage of that,” said Howell.

Liller questioned if Maryland would have control if commercial development were to take place at the airport and if West Virginia could impose taxes on it.

“The airport pays no taxes to West Virginia and probably none to Maryland,” said Liller.

Ridgely Mayor Lynn Carr said land at the airport is deeded to the city of Cumberland.

“I think it will actually come in under the federal agreement, I would have to look at that again,” said Howell.

One of the attractions, like the airport museum, which displays the history of Allegany and Mineral counties, doesn’t get the promotion it deserves, Howell said.

An airport authority member invited members of the development authority to visit the airport to see what economic development opportunities exist there and to see where the autocross could be held.  

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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