Marion County’s economic growth will be accelerated by a daylong event scheduled for April. will be hosted so that prospective business owners in Marion County can gather information, make connections, and hear about the county’s past successes. There will be a conference for developers on April 19th, and it will begin at the Feaster Center on the campus of Fairmont State University.
Huntington’s Mayor Stephen Williams will speak about the city’s growth and change over the past few years. There will be two one-hour panel discussions after Williams’ speech, one focusing on state and municipal incentives to conducting business in the area and the other spotlighting economic development success stories from local business owners.
“It’s designed to give developers and entrepreneurs — people that are interested in doing something within the Fairmont and Marion County region — a peek into some of the opportunities and some of the advantages of doing their project here,” as stated by Allen Staggers, the executive director of the Marion Regional Development Corp.
According to Staggers, the event has been in the works for about six months, during which time multiple county and city organizations collaborated to make it a success. Marion County Economic and Community Development, Marion County Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Fairmont, Marion County Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Fairmont are all part of this group.
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Dan Swiger, director of Main Street Fairmont, and Tina Shaw, president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, had a discussion that sparked the concept. “I said ‘You know, maybe it’s time to let everybody know and get some people here to see some of these great things.’ So, that’s how it started and we sat down and talked about who we needed to get involved,” Shaw said.
West Virginia State Auditor J.B. McCuskey will be the main speaker at the Fairmont State University luncheon following the panel talks. Guests will enjoy a brief bus tour of Fairmont after lunch. Buildings on Monroe Street that have the potential for redevelopment, Palatine Park, the recently refurbished Innovation Center Building at the I-79 High Tech Park, and Middletown Commons will all be shown on the tour.
Guests on the trip will also get to hear first-hand accounts of the area’s revitalization from the people behind some of the most recent initiatives in the region.
“The speakers and panelist guests will hear and showcase success stories in the community. If you want to be a developer, if you want to pursue a project, these are the people you go see. These are great connections you need to make within the state and within the county. They will help you along the way,” Shaw said.
Shaw and Staggers anticipate renewed interest and revitalization efforts in the area as a result of the event, but caution that it will take at least a year for the full impact to become apparent.
“I think the outcome will, obviously, we’ll see the fruits of that, probably within the next 12 months after the event. We’re going to highlight some of the available properties, not all of them, because time doesn’t allow for that. … We’d like for anybody that’s thinking about starting a business in Fairmont … maybe they want a little more specific information about Fairmont and Marion County, to come to the event,” Staggers said.
Shaw felt the same way.
“I think people will be surprised at the opportunities that are happening in Marion County right now and I’m excited to showcase some of our development projects and some of the success stories. … Obviously I hope we attract a few new developers. I hope we attract some investors that see what’s already here and want to get involved and people that are just waiting in that perfect project because I know it’s here,” Shaw said.
All aforementioned statements are given from Yahoo.com