County Commission

The Mercer County Commission has selected a firm to study the feasibility of creating a county convention center.

PRINCETON — After considering six different engineering firms and grading them, the Mercer County Commission selected a West Virginia firm Tuesday to study the feasibility of creating a county convention center.

The county commission had a special meeting Tuesday by Facebook and Zoom to address several agenda items. One item involved choosing a consultant to perform a feasibility study for a proposed Mercer County convention center.

In September, the commission started advertising in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph for a consulting firm that has the expertise to find possible sites and determine the financial feasibility of constructing a convention center.

Six different engineering firms submitted bids for the convention feasibility study. Each was interviewed, and each of the three commissioners graded them. When the results were compared, the commission had chosen Downstream Strategies in Morgantown, according to Commissioner Bill Archer.

Archer said all six of the firms making presentations to the commission were “wonderful.”

“It’s amazing that a small county like Mercer could attract such responses from such major firms,” he stated. “It was a good job.”

Commissioner Greg Puckett said that the bidders were independently scored, and that he did not know how his fellow commissioners rated each bidder.

The Brushfork Armory is often the venue for events like the Bluefield Coal Show, but its available space is limited; so the county needs an updated facility with modern amenities, Commission President Gene Buckner said when the commission started seeking bidders for the study.

No sites have been selected for a convention center. The feasibility study will look at possible locations as well as potential funding sources such as the U.S. Economic Administration, WV Small Cities Block Grant Program, USDA Rural Development and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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