WINFIELD, W.Va. - Putnam County officials are readying about 12 more acres of land in the county's business park, County Commissioner Steve Andes announced Tuesday.The Putnam Business Park, located along U.S. 35, has 205 acres and about 50 of those have developed businesses on the north side of the highway, according to Gary Walton, director of the Putnam Development Authority.Chemical company Solutia, which owns land in Nitro, needs dirt to fill 275,000 cubic yards at their site, and has agreed to level land on the south side of U.S. 35. The company will level the land at no cost to the county in exchange for the dirt, Walton said."When they move the dirt we'll end up with flat land," Walton said, who expects the company to start on the project in the spring.
Solutia will also construct an access road on the site. The land on the south side of U.S. 35 the county owns hasn't been developed and is made up of three hills, according to Walton."They'll take down two [hills]," Walton said. "By the time they're out [the land] will be saleable."In other business, the county was awarded $100,000 from the state Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority to continue upgrading windows at the courthouse.The "matching grant" is designed so that the state pays 80 percent of the project and the county pays 20-percent, county manager Brian Donat said. About one quarter of the courthouse's windows are already in the process of being replaced and the additional funds would help upgrade another quarter of the building, he said.Tuesday's meeting was Commissioner Gary Tillis' last. Tillis, the only Democrat on the three-member county commission, didn't seek reelection.Andy Skidmore, a Republican from Poca, was elected last month and attended the meeting Tuesday."I had mixed feelings coming in here today," Tillis said. "It's been an honor for me to represent the people of Putnam County."Tillis, a former member of the House of Delegates who is business manager of the West Virginia Laborers District Council, served one term on the commission.Reach Kate White at email@example.com or 304-348-1723.