Beech Bottom is not usually the place that turns up on editorial pages in the local newspaper, but it has become a place with re-birthing pains, a very good indicator of potential for economic change in the region.
The town was facing uncertainty, to say the least, with the bankruptcy of RG Steel putting an end to decades of steady industrial employment at the former Wheeling Corrugating plant along state Route 2. But, thanks to the work of local economic development efforts, spearheaded through Pat Ford and the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, what could have become another rotting, rusting steel factory has been put back to productive use. And the presence of Jupiter Steel was made possible because the BDC was able to help bring water and sewer service to the site.
But the work goes beyond that. The BDC's acquisition of the site, through help from Hackman Capital, has brought in other users related to the local boom in the energy industry.
In short, Beech Bottom is seeing an increase in traffic that puts it back in some ways to where it was in the heyday of its steel plant, so much so that others beyond heavy industry are taking notice.
A local man has put together a tavern to open in a long-dormant building, capitalizing on the traffic that has been filling Route 2 again.
The chief complaint aside from a busier highway is mud on the road.
A lot of places in the area would take such a complaint over vacant buildings and dwindling revenues any day of the week.
It's all an example of the kind of development that happens with focus, with sticking to a direction and with setting up an apparatus that works to serve the needs of inquiring companies quickly and without fail.
We commend the BDC and Ford and hope the work continues to set the example for the region.