The announcement Thursday from Arch Coal that the company planned to open a new mine in northern Barbour County was somewhat unexpected by county officials, but it’s something they agree has great potential to help the area.
“It’s exciting to have the economic opportunities here in our county. It’s a lot of job creation, and there’s not a lot around our area, so we’re excited to see that announcement come in,” said County Administrator Shana Frey.
While the mine may not be located within city limits, officials in Philippi are optimistic, too. They said the growing number of businesses downtown have fed off each other, and they hope to see that effect continue.
“The idea here at the city is to be more open to business. We have more stores opening on Main Street, and that seems to have a contagious effect on everything else,” said Jeremy Drennen, Philippi city manager.
The mine isn’t expected to be ready for use until 2021, but when it finally opens, Drennen is hopeful the new customers and residents who work there will continue to build the area economy.
“We will get, you know hopefully our businesses will have that effect and then that will also translate into more tax money for the city,” said Drennen.