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(WV) [Beckley] Tamarack Supporters Critical of State Report

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http://www.statejournal.com/story.cfm?func...p;storyid=18463

"Tamarack Supporters Critical of State Report

Posted Thursday, January 11, 2007 ; 06:00 AM

The center costs the West Virginia Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority, which operates Tamarack and the turnpike, $2 million to $3 million annually."

The Tamarack is located on the West Virginia Turnpike, a toll road owned by the WV Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority. It has attracted over five million visitors since its opening in 1996. It's sole revenues cannot be counted as a sole reason to "close" the Tamarack (as two dissenters in misc.transport.road newsgroup stated), as many side benefits are not simply counted.

Edit: Sorry, didn't mean to post the whole article.

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Manchin wants Parkways to transfer Tamarack to Commerce Dept.

Key --

1. Gov. Manchin wants to transfer the Tamarack from the Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority to the Commerce Dept.

2. The Turnpike was envisioned as an economic and tourism development tool in the 1950s, and was placed under such authority as outlined in its mission (from numerous sources, including historical documentaries, documents, and financial statements).

2a. That explains why the Tamarack, a large tourism draw, falls under the umbrella with the West Virginia Turnpike.

Article information: "Manchin wants Parkways to transfer Tamarack to Commerce Dept., By TOM BREEN, Associated Press Writer, Friday, March, 30, 2007"

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Parkways wants to shed building

Key --

1. The Parkways authoriy owns 68% of a large building at Kanawha Blvd. and Clendenin St. that is occupied by several hundred employees of Capital Area Services Co. Inc., owned by CASCI.

2. "Two recent reports criticized the state Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority for its economic development ventures." The report stated that they should shed "non-Turnpike" structures and focus solely on the 88-mile WVa Turnpike, but that isn't its full mission.

3. "One of the recommendations in the report said we should look at phasing out economic development and tourism facets of parkways. Since then we have tried to put our efforts back into maintenance and safety of the highway."

4. Formerly the Sears Dept. Store before it went to the Charleston Town Center in 1983.

4a. Went under extensive renovations and served as headquarters of Blue Cross-Blue Shield before it filed for bankruptcy in the early 1990s.

4b. The Charleston Area Alliance received a $3.5 million loan from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority to buy the building in 1992.

4c. The Parkways Authority invested $2 million. The partnership, between the Charleston Area Alliance and the Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority, was an effort to lure CASCI to the area.

Article information: "Parkways wants to shed building, by Matthew Thompson, Daily Mail, Wednesday March 28, 2007"

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Parkways considers CASCI building sale

Key --

1. The authority board of directors is considering a $2.3 million offer from the Charleston Area Alliance for the CASCI building at 200 Kanawha Blvd. East.

2. The authority invested $2 million into the building in 1992 nad received $1.5 million over the past 15 years in lease payments.

3. Exiting now would yield a $1.8 million profit, a 6% return.

4. The Alliance owns 32%, while the authority owns 68%.

5. CASCI brought 600 jobs to Charleston in 1992 when CASCI occupied it. It was formerly a Sears Dept. Store then the HQ of Blue Cross-Blue Shield. The building as room for 100 more employees if needed.

Article information: "Parkways considers CASCI building sale, by George Hohmann, Daily Mail, Wednesday April 18, 2007"

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Survey says motorists not willing to pay for turnpike repairs

Key --

1. The West Virginia Turnpike needs $100 million in repairs.

2. A poll conducted by the Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority surveyed ~620 residents and highway users in December 2006 and January 2007 and held three focus group meetings.

2a. Drivers and residents found the highway to be in a "little better condition" than what the Parkways actually knows from an engineering perspective.

2b. 68% interviewed by telephone and 78% interviewed at the travel plazas gave the Turnpike a good or excellent rating.

3. Tolls have not been raised since 1981 -- the longest for any toll road in the United States.

4. The Turnpike can only pave four miles a year. There are 415 lane miles of the Turnpike.

5. The sale of the CASCI building could go to reduce the $8.4 million bond debt on the construction costs for the Tamarack.

Article information: "Survey says motorists not willing to pay for turnpike repairs, Herald-Dispatch, Wednesday, April, 18, 2007"

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Parkways OKs sale of building

1. On April 19, the Authority voted to sell its interest in the CASCI building for $2.3 million.

Article information: "Parkways OKs sale of building, By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette, April 20, 2007"

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