PARKERSBURG -Local officials are going to make some big decisions next month in regard to the proposed Fort Boreman armory project.
Wood County Economic Development Authority President Keith Burdette said the coming month will provide more insight into the project.
"There hasn't been much to tell, but that is going to change," he said.
In January, federal funding - $3.2 million for engineering and design of a new armory facility in Parkersburg - will become available to the West Virginia Army National Guard. Officials are hoping to land the armory on Fort Boreman, as well as partner with the National Guard to create a civic arena.
Burdette said next month the development authority will receive its final reports on the Boreman property.
"We'll get the master plan and land utilization studies, which will tell us how much of the 180 acres is developable."
Earlier this year the development authority obtained a $4 million option on the property. Knowing how much is developable, will allow officials to make calculations as to how much the property is worth.
Burdette also said they will begin serious study of a possible baseball project.
Officials have been discussing resurrecting minor league baseball in the area. Burdette said officials have laid out plans to create a team and stadium with virtually no public funding.
Burdette has had discussions with Frontier League officials as well as meetings with members of the Vandalia Foundation.
"We have laid out the perfect storm that would allow us to do both the armory and baseball," Burdette said of the potential. "These issues will be front and center."
He remains adamant, along with Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell, that landing the armory on Fort Boreman is the top priority.
"The armory is the first priority," Burdette said. "Everything else that might go up there is secondary."
In addition to the Boreman project, Burdette said the development authority is working on a few other major projects, which are indicators of an economic upswing. The development authority has had several property inquiries for new projects, including a retention-expansion project involving 200 existing employees and another 150 potential employees over the next 18 months.
"We are busier than we were last December," he said. "There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic for the next year."