Now that the elections are over with, it's time for Elkins to move forward. The County Commission and the City of Elkins might think of forming a joint committee with a vision for the marketing this area. This look forward should not just be for the area around Elkins. This committee needs to look at the whole county and what the needs might be as we all move forward.
Things that need to be addressed are what types of industry we need to come and set up in Randolph County and the surrounding areas. Now that we have a projected finish date for Corridor H, it's time to be looking at the expansion that will be coming along with it. A good example to look at would be how did the City of Beckley, W.Va. approach this same problem with three major highways passing in and around the city?
Yes, our case is smaller, but still some of the same principles apply. What major roads will be upgraded to either three lanes or four lanes? How much more additional traffic will the city and county have to plan for? How much more infrastructure is going to be needed to handle the additional business and traffic that will be coming in from the new highway. Yes, I know we are still a long way from the completion of Corridor H. But now is the time to start planning.
If we have a plan, then the city and county have a say-so in how the roads, traffic lights and the speed limits are put in to place. They also will have a say-so in the type of companies that might be looking at Randolph County to set up a new business. I know we have all heard some of this before, but the only way you attract new industry to the area is by offering incentives such as tax breaks, land at a reduced mortgage rate and incentives to the employees that will be hired from our community or have to move in from out of state.
This committee should be set up as non-partisan. People with agendas need not apply. This is for the betterment of the community, not your wallets. The committee needs input from members of the banking community, the business community and members of the City Council and the County Commission. These members will know what will best to serve our community as a whole and how to best plan for the future expansion of the infrastructure that will be needed and what type of businesses will best suit the area. This all goes by the wayside if plans are not set in place now.
So this plan needs to look at where Randolph County will be in five, 10 years and 20 years. I know we have no idea what Randolph County will look like in 20 years. But if there is no plan when we get there, things will be just as screwed up as they have been these past years for our area government. It all boils down to this: Is there a need for this? I say yes, and I hope that most of you do too.