Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The article below appeared June 12 in the Inter Mountain, Elkins' newspaper. The Randolph County Chamber of Commerce invited Charleston Area Alliance President and CEO Matt Ballard to its quarterly meeting to discuss regional marketing and economic development.

Randolph Chamber Learns CAA Efforts

ELKINS - Randolph County Chamber of Commerce members learned Wednesday during the quarterly meeting how the Charleston Area Alliance is working to bring business and industry into the Kanawah Valley by marketing the Charleston region and West Virginia as a whole.

Matt Ballard, president of the Charleston Area Alliance, explained how the organization attracts industry from around the world and is working to better the economy and community in the metro area.

“Economic development doesn’t happen overnight, especially with foreign companies,” Ballard said.

Four years ago, three business/commerce groups formed the Charleston Area Alliance. Since that time the group has been working to attract the automobile, chemical and energy industries and encouraging young professionals make the move to West Virginia by creating positive relationships with businesses and universities.

The alliance has also worked to enhance the community by focusing on downtown development, creating “green space” and 21st century amenities, Ballard explained.

To entice businesses to locate in West Virginia, the Charleston Area Alliance invites executives to the city and personally guides them around the area, Ballard said. Companies are willing to choose a state that provides services that are more friendly than a brochure or making a phone call.

However, other than a warm welcome companies are looking for “super sites,” which are approximately 1,500 acres of development-ready property, Ballard explained. Currently, West Virginia does not have any “super sites.” In the future, the Charleston Area Alliance plans to develop more West Virginia based airline companies that provide direct flights to major cities, such as New York, Ballard explained.

He also encouraged people in the north central area of the state to fly from Yeager Airport in Charleston instead of Pittsburgh International. The more people flying into and from Yeager will possibly increase flight services and keep airlines from pulling their services, Ballard said.

As an example, Charleston’s East End is being equipped with WiFi, Ballard said. If the entire area has WiFi available at no charge, more people and businesses will move to the area, according to Ballard. Prior to the formation of the Charleston Area Alliance, the three organizations spent approximately 18 percent more, Ballard said.

ERCCC Executive Director Ellen Spears said she is not considering a similar organization for the region, but wanted chamber members to know what others are doing around the state.

“Charleston is a big area, and I think it’s interesting what they do,” Spears said. “I thought it would be interesting to people here to find out what others are doing.”

Also at the meeting, ERCCC President Kathy Leombruno welcomed new chamber members: Country Creations, Elkins Express Care, Hampton Inn, Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone Co., Tharon Jack, Mountain State Inc. and Gary Clay.Delegate Bill Hartman, D-37th District, informed the group that Brad Basil has designed new banners to replace the worn-out ones currently hanging throughout town. Elkins Mayor Judy Guye also discussed the beautification and street improvements in the downtown area Elkins and said she is looking forward to visitors during the summer.


Post a Comment

<< Home