By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
The Tucker County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Board (CVB) has accepted the resignation presented by Sam England to the board. England wrote, “My time as the GM (General Manager) at Canaan is winding down fast. Therefore, please accept my resignation from the CVB Board. It has been a great pleasure serving Tucker County and I continue to be a huge fan. I will continue to lobby and support Tucker County.” England retired as GM of Canaan Valley Resort on July 1, but will remain on as an advisor as needed during the transition for the new GM.
The board members then voted to approve the new Canaan Valley Resort GM Matthew Baker as their newest member of the board. Baker has worked for 17 years with the West Virginia State Parks and graduated from Davis and Elkins College. All members welcomed Baker to the board.
Nick Pochiba gave a quarterly report of the financial standing of the CVB. Pochiba reported although there has been some loss with the flux of the stock market, the CVB was standing strong and fairly managing above the average of others. Pochiba stated on a national average the stock market was down 17 percent, and although any decline is unfortunate the CVB was reported as only seven percent down.
Director of CVB Jessica Waldo updated the board members on the tasks she has been working on during the months of May and June. Waldo’s list of duties was quite extensive from participating in the Camp Horseshoe’s Teen Entrepreneurship Summit (CHTES) to working with the Chamber of Commerce on Corridor H, J1 Visa Program and Oktoberfest. Waldo said, “I always have a great time and enjoy judging that.” in reference to the CHTES.
When mentioning the Corridor H, a discussion among the member of the board started was commenced about the alternative route option. Waldo said, “The Chamber of Commerce has been asked by a group to consider the possibility of a Northern Route. They are not saying they want the northern, but they want the Department of Highways to consider the possibilities of the northern route. The group is asking for a letter of support from the Chamber. The Chamber board was divided as to whether they wanted to take a stance on that, and opinions were all over on how that should be written.” The Chamber decided to survey the Chamber members and see what the consensus is from there.
Board member Kevin White said, “One thing that Travis Long (Division of Highways Technical Support Division Director) said is that there is not a northern route nor has there ever been a northern route. It is a crayon mark on a map is what the northern route is. I was at several meetings with Travis, and I am not trying to persuade anyone in a certain way. I am just trying to state what the facts are, but unfortunately there is a group out there pushing very false information. Very, very false information.
Number one there is no northern route. It does not exist. It never has existed. Secondly, the biggest thing is if you look at the infrastructure bill. It expires in 2026. The money expires, and it will take 3 and a half to four and a half years to do a study if they trash the southern route and go another way and then the money is gone. If the money is gone the highway is killed. It has killed nine miles of road between Mackeyville and Davis/Thomas.
We know what the traffic is doing to Thomas and Davis now. Imagine what it is going to do once it gets that far up. It is killed and goes no further, and you have that traffic dumping in on Front Street of Thomas and right through Davis. Where it could instead be on the Corridor.
They mentioned the fact that is going to divide the towns. I do not know if you have read the brochures or not but there is actually a preferred route that goes up under Route 32. It is not visible until it gets out at the interchange.”
White went to explain the bridge proposed for the Coketon Historic Coke and Coal production site would be design astatically appealing to tourists and traveler with a steel arch bridge designed to complement the area.
White lastly mentioned the threat to EMS crews and emergency response individuals that have to travel the dangerous roads in the winter with severe weather conditions like snow and ice. The Corridor would provide a safer route for everyone traveling in that direction.
The board discussed the possible locations of a new visitor’s center. Of the locations mentioned the most plausible one seems to be a piece of property owned by the Cooper family. The land is located across from the BFS in Davis. Waldo expressed the need for a walk through of the property to ensure it was adequate enough to house a building, a parking lot, and a playground area for children.
Marketing sponsorships were awarded to Highlands Trail Foundation ($600 for advertising the Blackwater Canyon Half Marathon), Trail Labs, LLC ($500 for one-time start up promotions and advertising), and the Tucker County Fair Association ($3,000 for printing and advertising, a 50 percent boost from last year’s $2,000).
The next meeting of the Tucker County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau will be held on August 9, 2022, at Milo’s Café and Restaurant located at 454 William Ave, Davis, West Virginia, 26260.