The Gilmer County Economic Development Association (GCEDA) combined its annual meeting and regular monthly meeting on Thurs. evening, Dec. 19, at the Glenville Inn.
Members of the GCEDA and its board discussed the association's 2013 projects and upcoming initiatives in addition to selecting members to fill vacant board seats through 2014 and 2016.
Justin Fletcher, manager of the Pioneer Grille on Rt. 5 and a new member of the GCEDA, was selected to fulfill a vacant board position through 2014.
Selected to fill vacant board positions through 2016 were: Bryan Groves, Anna Jean Rogucki, Daisy Fryman-Bailey, Julie Brenneman and Leisa Somerville.
Susan Stalnaker-Ware, GCEDA Coordinator since March 15, 2013, highlighted the annual meeting with a GCEDA Year in Review report.
According to the report, there are several grants in process, including: a Flex E grant in the amount of $8,500; a Creative Marketing Grant in the amount of $2,500; a Certified Development Community Recertification grant; and a Local Economic Development (LED) grant, which the GCEDA has so far matched state funds in the amount of $28,137. The WV Dept. of Commerce website states that matching funds up to $31,008 are available through the LED grant.
The Governor's Guaranteed Work Force Program, which provides technical and financial assistance for training, retraining and upgrading skills of employees, has a matching fund grant available. GCEDA member Jeff Huffman has been meeting with local businesses to outline the program and its benefits to local business.
The Red Cross Blood Drive, cosponsored by the GCEDA and the Gilmer County Senior Center, exceeded the set goal this year.
Stalnaker-Ware also brought to the attention of board members and regular GCEDA members the new Gilmer County brochure, stating that the organization and completion of this project was "the most successful" initiative undertaken by the GCEDA in 2013.
"We have received compliments on the brochure from all over, and it is available everywhere in the state," said Stalnaker-Ware. The brochure highlights tourism opportunities in Gilmer County.
Stalnaker-Ware asserted that the most important initiative the GCEDA will pursue in 2014 is the development of what is being called the "North Site," a two-parcel piece of land on Rt. 5 across from the current Gilmer County Industrial Park, where Lignetics employs more than 40 people.
Another upcoming project for the GCEDA is the compilation of an updated business guide, which will contain the names and contact information for local businesses, including their physical and website addresses. The guide will be printed locally by the Glenville State College print shop at substantial savings to the GCEDA over other printing options researched.
An additional media-based project will involve updating the GCEDA website, currently maintained by Cyric Systems, a web design company based in Glenville.
Gilmer County on the Move, a walking challenge program in the county spearheaded by GCEDA member Jeff Campbell, was also cited in the annual review as a 2013 success. Campbell informed the GCEDA members that the program was recently selected to receive a five-year grant from Change the Future WV, a program geared toward "improving communities by making healthy living easier and more affordable" to residents.
"I want to thank the EDA for helping with the Community Transformation Grant for Gilmer County on the Move," affirmed Campbell. He is also the Region II Coordinator for Change the Future WV, which is sponsoring the grant.
Anna James, bookkeeper for the GCEDA, stated that membership grew by 27 in 2013. It was also stated that once the new business directories are printed and ready for distribution, a new push for membership will begin.
Other topics discussed during the regular monthly meeting, held directly after the annual meeting, included the Little Kanawha Bus Service, a new public transit option coming to Gilmer County in January 2014, and possible plans to use grant money from the Little Kanawha River Parkway Authority for a walking trail in Glenville.
Representing the WVU Extension office in Gilmer County, Daisy Fryman-Bailey informed the GCEDA that a Good Agricultural Practices training will take place on Fri., Jan. 24 for anyone selling fruits and vegetables at the Gilmer County Farmer's Market.
To learn more or to register, Bailey stated that she could be reached at the WVU Extension office, located at the Gilmer Recreation Center on Sycamore Road. The phone number is 304-462-7061. Please read "Farm Opportunities Day Jan. 24 and 25" in this issue of the newspaper.
The next GCEDA meeting will be held on Thurs., Jan. 9 at noon at the Glenville Inn.