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James Simpkins honored for 30 years of service with MCRA

WILLIAMSON - The Mingo County Redevelopment Authority has a potential client who is exploring building a saw mill in Wood Park located at the Harless Industrial Park near Holden.

Although authority officials did not reveal the client's name at this time, Barry Cook, director of the West Virginia Division of Forestry, attended the meeting to give some feedback and to act as a mediator. (Cook grew up in East Williamson and graduated from Williamson High School in 1967.)

Cook said the potential investor wants to build a saw mill at the former wood flooring plant and also use the old equipment located there. The wood flooring plant and equipment is owned by Mohawk Flooring; however, the land is owned by the MCRA.

If a deal goes through, the plant would make whiskey and wine barrels out of local white oak trees.

"I would encourage the board to actively pursue this," Cook said of the business. "The longer the plant and equipment sits, the harder it will be to get it back up and running."

The wood plant closed in May 2017. MCRA Executive Director Leasha Johnson said the business had the possibility of bringing 50 new jobs to the region.

Before the meeting started, Johnson gave the oath to new board member Brandon Sammons.

Johnson also announced the addition of Greta Curry as deputy executive director for the MCRA. Curry previously worked for the Robert C. Byrd Institute as an outreach specialist. Among her duties, Curry will work on the retention and development of small businesses.

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