By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Executive Director Steve Leyh updated the Tucker County Development Authority on the county’s standings for the month of August during the September meeting. Among those reported by Leyh included the current unemployment rate, small business growth, and the meetings attended by Leyh.
The unemployment rate in July for Tucker County was 3.9 percent which is up from the 3.4 percent in May. The median listing home price was $275,000 in August with a downward trend of -11.3 percent year-over-year. The median house sold for $300,000 in August. Leyh attended an affordable housing webinar on how to State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) for affordable housing production and preservation.
According to www.nahma.org, “The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program, a part of the American Rescue Plan, delivers $350 billion to state, local, and Tribal governments across the country to support their response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipient governments have a once in a generation opportunity to invest these SLFRF dollars to boost the supply of affordable housing. Under the program’s final rule, “Development, repair, and operation of affordable housing and services or programs to increase long-term housing security” is an enumerated eligible use to respond to the negative economic impacts of the pandemic on households and communities.”
Small business growth is continuing to accelerate for the year 2022. Tucker County has added 60 business entities in 2022 with a growth rate of 10.45 percent for the year. Tucker County is ranked fourth in the state with a growth rate of 96.35 percent since November 2017. Leyh and the Development Authority plans to continue to support new businesses by counseling and assisting entrepreneurs and actively identifying ways to support their efforts and connect them to resources.
Leyh reported a group has been formed to revitalize the entrepreneurial pitch contest to develop a work plan for a new event next Spring. In the past the pitch contest was for any business, for-profit or non-profit, could submit an application as long as the proposal would positively impact Tucker County’s economic climate.
According to the Tucker Community Foundation website at www.tuckerfoundation.net, “This project was developed by a group of partner agencies, consisting of representatives from the Tucker County Development Authority, Tucker County Chamber of Commerce, Woodlands Community Lenders, Tucker Community Foundation, and the WVU Extension Service who are working alongside the WVU Launch Lab. The WVU Launch Lab has held several similar pitch competitions across the state.”
Leyh attended several meetings for the good of the development authority including the Highlands Creative Economy Tourism Summit at Canaan Valley State Park. The event was hosted by the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area and Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College. The event featured presentations on tourism business development and entrepreneurship.
Leyh also attended the West Virginia Economic Development Council Conference in Wheeling, West Virginia. Leyh met with state and federal partners to discuss business retention and expansion training. The conference also included “ZoomProspector” training for commercial and industrial sites.
“ZoomProspector” would allow the Development Authority to search an online database of available commercial and industrial properties based on a wide range of user-defined criteria. Research and analyze cities, counties and regions with robust demographic, labor force, consumer expenditure, wages, business, geographic, and talent data. This data would allow decisions to made for the best possible location of a new commercial or industrial site.
The development authority is working on preparing documentation for the fiscal year 2023 Local Economic Development (LED) grant applications. According to wvcad.org, “The West Virginia Legislature appropriate funds for the Local Economic Development Grant (LED) to support county or multi-county economic development efforts through a matching grant program. The program is administered through the West Virginia Department of Economic Development (WVDED). The purpose is to enhance the capacity of local economic development to undertake economic development activities and to complete Certified Development community (CDC) program requirements.” The maximum grant is $22,727 and the deadline is December 31.
The next Tucker County Development Authority meeting will be held on October 20, 2022, at 6 p.m. and located at the National Youth Science Foundation Center, 494 Riverstone Drive, Davis, WV 26260.
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