PRINCETON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia has secured $155,000 in federal grant funding that will be used to improve broadband and high-speed internet connectivity in Mercer County.
“It’s a grant that is completely directed toward broadband and extensive connectivity,” Gov. Justice said to a crowd on hand for the announcement at the Memorial Building in Princeton. “It’s going to upgrade our industrial park in Mercer County and make us more attractive to draw more business in and give us the opportunity to have more jobs.”
These funds are just one piece of $13.1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars that have been dedicated for various broadband and infrastructure projects throughout West Virginia this year by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This broadband infrastructure project in Mercer County will improve broadband connectivity at the Cumberland Industrial Park in Bluefield. The project will provide existing businesses the ability to operate at a higher capacity with greater internet connectivity, facilitating the ability to retain and create jobs.
The enhanced internet capacity will also strengthen the park as a competitive business location, enabling the Mercer County Economic Development Authority to further develop the property as an economic driver in the region, attracting new businesses to the park and allowing existing businesses to expand operations by greatly increasing their e-commerce capabilities.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to have high-speed connectivity to draw manufacturing and any type of business to West Virginia, you’ve got to have it,” Gov. Justice said.
“We are way behind in where we should be in high-speed connectivity and we’ve got to get there,” Gov. Justice said. “I am absolutely committed beyond belief to try any and every way we can.”
A grand total of $2.4 million of the overall CDBG funds awarded in West Virginia will go toward similar broadband projects, benefitting thousands of people in 10 different counties across the state.
Gov. Justice will announce more of West Virginia’s 19 total CDBG awardees over the next several weeks.