BOONE COUNTY, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined State leaders and other local officials at the former Hobet mine site in Boone County today to pledge his commitment to developing the property into an economic driver for the region and to announce that he has directed the West Virginia Department of Transportation to immediately begin the construction process for a bridged intersection on Corridor G and an improved access road to the site, at an estimated $40 million.
“This is a terrific opportunity that we have right here within our grasp,” Gov. Justice said. “When I walked in the door, this project was a dream, but we really didn’t have the money to be able to really move forward. But since then, we’ve improved ourselves economically – the state is prosperous everywhere you turn.
“We’ve got the money, now we’ve got the interest, so what do we do? We move,” Gov. Justice continued. “We don’t wait. We don’t hesitate. We move. Now’s the time not to walk up to the edge of the pool and stick your toe in it. Now is the time to cannonball right into the pool.”
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Gov. Justice announced that he has directed the West Virginia Department of Commerce to make development of the Hobet mine property a top priority by intensifying efforts to attract companies to the site.
“This project will absolutely bring the business community into this part of southern West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re going to create opportunity and jobs beyond belief.”
In addition to attracting companies for the location, Gov. Justice also announced today that the West Virginia National Guard will resume their activities at Hobet. The Guard will help market Hobet to defense industries, and will also continue training activities with their federal and private partners.
“We are certainly proud to be here and have this opportunity to continue to develop this site,” said Brig. Gen. William E. Crane, Director of the Joint Staff, West Virginia National Guard. “We clearly understand the Governor’s direction and we will continue to flesh out our opportunities here with the leaders of Boone County.”
Gov. Justice also announced that he has directed the National Guard to work with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to further improve the Wildlife Management Area at Hobet and develop the land for public recreational use.
“When I walked in the door, we were bankrupt without many places to turn,” Gov. Justice said. “Today, people are truly coming to West Virginia, and now this opportunity is right in our lap and we need to move.
“Will we have to take a little bit of a leap of faith? Of course we will,” Gov. Justice continued. “But there are so many people that are looking at West Virginia, right now, from all across our nation, if not all across the world, and we’re encouraging them to bring their businesses here.
“Just days ago, we announced Hyperloop coming to West Virginia – think of the work that has gone into getting us from bankrupt to Hyperloop – and we also have Clorox, various broadband companies, West Virginia Methanol, and so many others it’s hard to keep up, and they’re all coming to be a part of the momentum we’re building in West Virginia.”
The Governor was joined by West Virginia Senator Paul Hardesty for the announcement.
“[Governor Justice is] someone who I know cares about southern West Virginia. When I’ve called upon him in times of crisis…he answered the call. He never forgets where he came from. His roots run deep in the mining community, in the mining industry, and he knows what the potential is for this project,” Sen. Hardesty said.
“For many years, this project here at Hobet, we’ve hoped and we’ve dreamed and we really wanted it to become a reality,” Sen. Hardesty continued. “This project here is the one and best chance for southern West Virginia to get connected with Charleston and become the bedroom community, to bring opportunities down the corridor from Charleston into Boone and Lincoln and Logan counties. This project has real potential and we feel like the sky’s the limit.”