Affiliate Leadership Council Asks State For Additional Support - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Affiliate Leadership Council Asks State For Additional Support

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Over the past decade, the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont has materialized thousands of jobs with salaries averaging more than $60,000 every year.

The Affiliate Leadership Council said the park is close to reaching its full potential and with a little more financial help from the state government, it could do just that.

"It has grown into a multi-billion dollar reinvestment into the state of West Virginia. I mean there are dozens of companies, if not hundreds of companies in this region that are all part of this technology movement," said John Dahlia, Affiliate Leadership Council.

Several federal agencies serve as "anchors" for the region by providing jobs, resources, partnerships, and research.

"NASA, NOAA. We really need that funding to be able to help the small businesses be introduced to these agencies. Help the small businesses get their feet off the ground," said Chad Ollila, Affiliate Leadership Council.

The demand for business development assistance is growing and there is a waiting list of small businesses in need of help.

The Affiliate Leadership Council said the I-79 Technology Park needs more financial assistance from the state to make that happen.

"We have the success and we're in a growth mode up here. We want you to support us at a fraction of a level at a level that you support the park in Charleston," Dahlia said.

The park provides nearly 12,000 highly paid jobs and employment has grown 8.2 percent since 2010.

But still, the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in Kanawha County is receiving more support.

"They are getting I believe around $4 million a year," Ollila said. "We are getting, I want to say around 200,000."

The Council said it completely supports the Regional Technology Park and isn't questioning the government's decision to fund it.

It just wants some of that funding, too.

"If we were to get even a fraction of that, lets say a million dollars a year, we could literally change the game as far as what's happening here. To Washington D.C. or to Pittsburgh to bring more companies here," Dahlia said.

The Council has sent a letter to Governor Tomblin requesting additional funding and support.

Part of the letter reads: "At the very least, we deserve answers as to why West Virginia's Legislature would even consider giving the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in Kanawha County millions of dollars each year and yet offer little, if any, assistance to the I-79 Technology Park."

It continues: "We respectfully request that you engage in the economic development efforts at the I-79 Technology Park and encourage the Legislature to invest in its future."

The Council hopes the letter can get them some answers, as well as help.

"We did this as kind of a last stitch effort in a way to get a response. To find out what the answer is to that fundamental question of why," Dahlia said.

Steven Hendrick, CEO of Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center in Charleston, released this statement:

"As a West Virginia headquartered business, MATRIC recognizes that all research and technology parks serve as economic development engines."

Stick with 12 News as we continue to follow this story.

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