When the governor cut the ribbon on the Morgantown Readiness Center for the West Virginia Army National Guard Wednesday, about 95 acres were opened up for further use.
There is a possibility of an Air Force Reserve training group extending the Morgantown Municipal Airport runway and developing surrounding property.
Bill Kawecki, Morgantown’s deputy mayor, was impressed with what’s available.
“There’s more land out there than you would ever expect. Lots of hidden locations. A very deep valley. A very high, I guess you would call it mountain, that’s pretty much just all wooded and undeveloped with a few houses in the area,” assessed Kawecki.
Morgantown’s assistant city manager Glen Kelly has said collaboration with US airmen could save the city 8 to 12 million dollars in construction and excavation work.
The acreage would not be solely owned by the city. But, city leaders see great potential.
“We will have the potential for development under a PUD, a planned unit development there that will allow something like 300 acres of land to be used for light industry and mixed industry kind of activities,” Kawecki predicted.
Proximity to Interstate 68 and the airport could make the property ideal for any number of companies.
However, it could all be contingent upon the 1001-foot extension of the 5,199-foot runway.
“There’s no doubt about it, the runway should and is necessary for this to be built if for no other reason to fill in the hole to give us the developable land,” Kawecki said.
The completion of the readiness center, an extended runway that would open the way for international flights to Morgantown, and business development nearby is a combination to promote economic development.
“You can gather people from various locations, have them fly in, do what needs to be done, have their meeting, turn around fly right back out. A lot of businesses, that’s an advantage to them because it saves them time and gets things done,” according to Kawecki. “We’re giving them a class A facility, I’ll tell you that.”
The next ribbon cutting will be July 31 on the city-funded access road to the readiness center.