Follow the money: Ravenswood to spend $15k on economic impact study for future projects

Katelyn Waltemyer
Jackson Newspapers
Ravenswood City Council entered an agreement with West Virginia University at Parkersburg for an environmental impact study to be completed by spring 2022.

RAVENSWOOD — City council unanimously agreed to enter a $15,000 contract Tuesday for West Virginia University at Parkersburg to complete an economic impact study for the Sandy Creek marina and the city's future sports complex.

A drawing of the sports complex and both marina sites was shared on the Ravenswood City Facebook page in January.

From now until January the project coordinator, along with two student researchers who are Jackson County natives, will gather data on the areas related to the project. Once completed, they will apply the data to the Department of Tourism's tax development application, which is due in spring 2022. 

Here are some things the study will examine.

  • Ravenswood's demographics
  • cost of the proposed infrastructure 
  • social and economic benefits
  • job creation

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The college's Dean of Civic Engagement Senta Goudy shared that the study will be a months-long venture. Bob Newell, the Sandy Creek project consultant, asked Goudy if she'd be interested in conducting the study  she couldn't say yes fast enough. 

"It's just a refreshing thing to see in our state that something progressive is happening, something that's going to build and something that's very positive," Goudy, the project coordinator, said. 

Goudy spends a chunk of her time at work helping not-for-profit businesses in the mid-Ohio Valley. She's spent the past two years focusing on Wood County, and she's hoping this project with Ravenswood will increase engagement at the Jackson County branch of the college. 

This study is crucial because it'll open doors for state and federal funds to help finance the projects, which will determine how much the city will tie to bonds. 

"No pressure," Goudy said with a laugh. "I don't feel any pressure at all."

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Ravenswood Mayor Josh Miller has his eyes on the $3 billion Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said in July that West Virginia is eligible for through the American Rescue Plan Act, with $750 million of that proposed to go toward tourism, travel and outdoor recreation grants. Miller said if Ravenswood doesn't qualify for that funding, he doesn't know who would. 

To break ground on the sports complex, the city will need to relocate its sewer system. Currently, the city has sewer lagoons on the proposed complex site on Washington Street across the road from the Riverfront Park and next to the Sandy Creek marina site. 

"We're moving an entire lagoon system and building the future of Ravenswood and this region on top of it," Miller said.  

Goudy said she plans on giving brief presentations throughout the project at city council meetings to keep council members and the public up-to-date with the project's status. 

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— Katelyn Waltemyer (she/her) is the General Assignment and Enterprise Reporter for Jackson Newspapers in Jackson County, West Virginia. Have a news tip on local government or education? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at kwaltemyer@jacksonnewspapers.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.