Two projects for state tourist attractions made progress in the West Virginia Economic Development Authority’s monthly board of directors meeting Thursday.
The board approved adjustments to its issuance of excess lottery revenue bonds for Cacapon Resort State Park improvements. The bonds are worth up to $25 million for the park in Berkeley Springs.
The board approved a reimbursement resolution for the park, which would allow the state Division of Natural Resources to be reimbursed for work done prior to the implementation of the bond. It also approved a supplemental resolution that would allow the bonds to mature for up to 30 years instead of 20 years, along with adjustments to comply with IRS code and regulations.
“The important thing is that the project is making progress,” EDA Executive Director David Warner said. “We should have the bonds finalized in the next few months.”
Originally approved in April, the park is expected to use the bonds to fund improvements such as new lodge guest rooms, infrastructure improvements, the addition of a spa and possibly a new pro shop.
Legislators originally approved park funding in 2012 until a decline in lottery revenue put those plans on hold.
The board also gave preliminary approval of a $1.15 million loan to B&O Development on a 15-year term. The Princeton-based company will use the loan to finance the development of lodging facilities for ATV riders using the Hatfield-McCoy trail, Warner said. The facilities will be located in Coaldale in Mercer County.
The EDA is also aiming to spur activity for the U.S. Economic Development Administration Title IX program, which is designed to stimulate economic activity through loans to businesses. The EDA has administered Title IX program loans for about 30 years, but Warner said the program has been underutilized in the past five years due to high interest rates.
“Our state-level sources of funding have had more attractive terms [for businesses],” Warner said. “We want better interest rate terms there, because we haven’t used U.S. EDA money as much.”
To make the program more competitive, the board approved an amendment that would lower the interest rate from 4 percent to 75 percent of the prime lending rate, which is currently around 3.19 percent.
With board approval of the request, the amendment now needs to be approved by the U.S. EDA before implementation.
Also at the meeting, the board gave final approval for a $1.3 million loan on a 20-year term to the Upshur County Development Authority. The loan will go toward the development of the Upshur County Innovation and Knowledge Business Center, in Buckhannon.
Rob Hinton, director of the Upshur County Development Authority, said in May that the facility will have 1 gigabit internet speeds available for area startups.
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