BROOKE COUNTY, W. Va. (WTRF)-Beech Bottom is taking a big step towards turning the old Wheeling-Pitt Steel building into a major economic driver for the Valley again.
Federal, state, and local leaders are re-purposing the site and with that comes new jobs and opportunities.
“Not only is this particular announcement exciting. It’s exciting because I think we’re on the edge of just jumping off and really revitalizing this area.”A.J. Thomas, Brooke County Commissioner President
Since RG Steel, formerly known as the Wheeling-Pitt Steel building, in Beech Bottom went bankrupt years ago, the industrial workforce in Brooke County took a big hit. Losing that business alone stripped 350 people of their jobs.
“In 2012 when Wheeling-Pitt declared bankruptcy, we were kind of in pain mode for this town. Our biggest payer was the mill, and we were down to nothing.”Mayor Becky Uhlly, city of Beech Bottom
But soon after, this historic site got acquired by the Business Development Corporation.
Since the BDC took it over, it’s been cleaned and is later being repurposed as Pure Watercraft: a green energy company that manufactures electric pontoon boats.
“Those boats will probably be the first available in the east part of the United States.”Marvin Six, executive director of the business development corporation
And with that comes a spur of jobs and opportunities in Brooke county.
“After a certain number of years, we’re looking at a hundred jobs down here, and if things go well, who knows?”A.J. Thomas, Brooke County Commissioner President
The project is already underway, but there’s a way to go, including finishing up renovations and expanding.
But once it’s all said and done, the potential for Brooke County is far from over.
Brooke County Commissioners foresee Pure Watercraft bringing along better public services, better recreation, and more companies to Brooke County.
“So, we welcome this. We’re excited, and if other companies want to come here, we’re happy. We’re willing to talk to you, and we’re willing to do what we can.”A.J. Thomas, Brooke County Commissioner President
Pure Watercraft is expected to invest at least $5 M in the plant and create over 100 jobs by the end of 2025. Construction should be completed next year.