On Tuesday evening, in a presentation meeting prior to the Greenbrier County Commission meeting, Commissioners Woody Hanna and Lowell Rose met with Andrew Hagy, president of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation and Robbie Baylor, president of West Virginia Hardwood Alliance Zone (HAZ), with the aim of bringing Greenbrier County into the fold with the alliance to support the county’s wood industry development aims.
Ten West Virginia counties are already in the alliance, including Barbour, Grant, Hardy, Lewis, Randolph, Upshur, Tucker, Preston, Webster and Pocahontas. The presentation was then made public at the commission meeting.
The West Virginia hardwood industry generates $3.2 billion annually to the state’s economy and employs more than 30,000 individuals in the workforce, Baylor said in her presentation. With an annual timber growth rate three times the harvest rate, West Virginia’s 12 million acres of forestland and 75 billion board feet oflumber inventory form the basis of a thriving wood industry. West Virginia is one of the top wood-producing state in the U.S., according to a HAZ handout.
Baylor stated that HAZ’s focus is on increasing value-added hardwood manufacturing and processing companies in North-Central West Virginia, and to provide information about the region to prospective hardwood industry investors with the aim of coordinating with economic development agencies in these counties and across the state to meet the needs of prospective investors.
In other business:
- The Greenbrier Humane Society (GHS) President Jennifer Runyon and Director Mereda Doss presented the county animal shelter’s annual report, with Runyon stating that in 2017 a total of 518 dogs and 1,218 cats were surrendered to the shelter either as owner surrenders or strays. Another 167 dogs were brought to the shelter by the animal control officer (ACO), yielding a total of 1,903 animals brought to the shelter in 2017. Of those, 810 animals found forever homes and another 634 were sent to rescue partners. Sixty-nine dogs and seven cats were returned to their owners. All adopted dogs and cats are spayed or neutered to reduce the number of animals surrendered by residents of the county, Runyon said.
Two GHS initiatives were introduced in 2017. Microchipping and posting ACO dogs to the GHS Facebook page, which, Runyon said has 12,000 followers. Microchipping pets has proven to be the number one method of quickly reuniting a lost animal with its owner, and the Facebook site also helps reunite ACO intakes with their owners.
- The commissioners set a date to accept bids to clear stumps and grubbings on the county-owned 80-acre Sports-Plex property on Harper Road on Feb. 20, at 11 a.m.
The commission is asking for two bid options: 1) to clear the stumps, and 2) to do a pit burning of the grubbings. Both bids will need to be completed within 90 days. Notices for the bids will be advertised in the media and are due to the county commission office at the courthouse by Mar. 12, at no later than 4 p.m. The commissioners will review the bids at the meeting on Mar. 13.
- A policy change to the wrecker policy was approved, which, according to Homeland Security and 911 Executive Director Al Whitaker, dealt primarily with allowing the officer in charge at an accident to deviate from the rotation process, and instead, contact the closest available wrecker. Whitaker said the reason for the change is to prevent any potential for injury to the officer on the site.
- Hanna said the Greenbrier County Arts and Recreation grant applications are now being accepted with a deadline of Mar. 23 at 4:30 p.m. He said director Roy Grimes is available to assist applicants at the county commission office downstairs in the county courthouse.