By Stephen Smoot
Last week, the Pendleton County Economic and Community Development Authority held its final meeting of 2022 to discuss big plans for the coming year and to elect board officers.
Laura Brown, EDA executive director, started the meeting with praise. After a recent audit, she reported that “our books are the best we have ever seen.” She added, “That’s a big kudos to our office administrator and our finance committee.”
The board next discussed progress on the Brownfields Technical Assistance grant. Grant funds help with the environmental cleanup of the site among other issues, including the roof. The EDA received $15,000 for a 10-month effort. A committee will explore options, including potential uses, for the innovation park and industrial park shell as well.
Board members brought up the possibility of asbestos mitigation in the building, but learned that the most extreme removal measures are only necessary when asbestos is cracked or otherwise damaged. In those cases, the fibers get into the air and become a hazard for human health. If the asbestos is not damaged, it’s best to leave it in place and cover it with flooring.
With elected officers’ terms nearing completion, board chairman Dayne Davis requested nominations to fill four positions and the board to approve. Davis will return as board chairman. Cory Thomas will serve as first vice chair and Jeremy Harper as second, and J. P. Mowery will take the combined secretary and treasurer role.
Brown then shared a report on the EDA roundtable from the prior week. She told the board that the EDA received the highest number of applicants yet for business grants. In previous years, the EDA awarded $3,000 grants. This year, they distributed a grant of $5,250 split among six local businesses. Brown proposed to ask local businesses to donate funds to help push the grant amount to $7,000. She said of the entire roundtable that “it went really well.”