“If anybody tells you they know how to prepare for this, they’re lying to you!” said Rick Healy, Moundsville city manager.
He said an ethane cracker of this size and magnitude is something that has never been experienced here, and even the building stages, with as many as 6,000 construction workers, will change everything.
“They’re going to need a place to eat, many of them will need a place to stay, there’s going to be an enormous number of extra vehicles in the area,” Healy noted.
And he says Moundsville will be the community affected the most.
“Traffic will increase considerably,” Healy said. “We already have some delays on the bridge at 12th Street. That’s going to increase. And we get excited if we have to wait five minutes for a table at a restaurant. That’s going to increase.”
People on the streets of Moundsville each have their own ideas of what kinds of businesses and services will have to increase.
“The whole county needs a lot more law enforcement,” said Ed Stilwell of Moundsville, “These guys are already strained. And transportation is already bottled up. In the mornings or when work lets out, or in the evenings, it’s really bad.”
“More housing,” suggested Shirley Stilwell of Moundsville. “And they’re going to need to open up some more schools.”
“Better roads,” said Wanda Allman of Cameron, “And a bigger Bob’s Lunch! Bob’s Lunch is the place where I eat every time I come to Moundsville. Their breakfast is the best.”
Rick Healy says they’re about to break ground for a new 120-room Holiday Inn Express with space on the property for three new restaurants.
Healy says there will be a need for many other spin-off or support services, where a smart business person could fill a need and make a lot of money
“Laundry is a great example,” he said. “Food trucks or food delivery is another area I think people could capitalize on.”
Most of all, he says, we’ll need to be open and hospitable, and we’ll need one thing most of all.
“Patience,’ Healy concluded. Patience is a virtue that we’ll need as we go forward with this development, absolutely.”