Spearhead Trail

A four-wheeler rides the obstacle course at the Spearhead Trail in this 2018 file photo

PRINCETON — A new resort featuring a restaurant with a West Virginia theme, a general store, and cabins meeting the lodging needs of ATV tourists is steadily coming together after more than two years of planning and fundraising, a local developer told the Mercer County Commission.

Todd Boggess, managing owner of B & O Development LLC, updated the commissioners during their October meeting about his company’s plans for creating a new ATV resort at the former Blizzard property in Coaldale. The site is off Route 52 near the Mercer and McDowell Counties line; the property is an old mining site. 

“I’m basically working with the West Virginia DEP (Department of Environmental Protection), the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) pilot program; also I’m working with the West Virginia EDA on private loans, national capital investment fund, which are private loans and then personal loans which will be through local banks,” Boggess said.

Boggess said while working on the financing, his company has been also addressing challenges such as how to “embrace working with local contractors.” Different parts of the project, such as constructing the resort’s cabins, will go out to public bid. More information about plans for the resort will be made public when they are ready to proceed. He said that he hoped to make announcements, which need to be coordinated with the AML, in about 30 days.

“We’ve been very, very actively involved purposely being kind of under the radar as far as what’s been going on with the project,” Boggess stated. “I don’t want to get information out there too quick. I want to get information out there when we’re ready to roll and ready to make something happen.”

Different aspects of the resort plan are coming together, he told the county commission. The plan includes a West Virginia-themed restaurant, a general store, amenities such as ATV storage and cabins meeting the need for ATV tourist lodging. It will be located close to the Hatfield-McCoy Trailhead facility now in Coaldale.

Current activities at the site include stabilizing a house that is already there, Boggess said. There is a hole in the roof and other parts that need repairs; this work is being done with private funds. Other plans are progressing, he added.

“I have my restaurant guy. We’ve been coordinating with Appalachian Power. Broadband is on its way to the Coaldale area,” he said.

Charles Botwich, who said he has been working with wastewater treatment for more than 40 years, described a treatment system which would serve the resort. He said the system would be “very simple to operate” and would not require miles of pipelines, and it would generate very little sludge. The system was originally designed for the military and base operations. It can operate in remote locations and be completely self contained.

Boggess said later that his company hoped to have the resort open by next year.

“We want to be open prior to the fall of 2020,” he stated.

The project’s first phase, working with an approximately $300,000 AML grant, is currently working toward completion, Boggess said later.

 “This phase prepares the project for bid and identifies any site features to be resolved. The bid packages will include site work for the development (utility systems, grading, drainage), building renovation work, and some of the cabin construction,” he stated. “The next phase of the grant is construction and is about $1.5 million. We are currently finalizing bid documents to submit to AML for approval so we can move forward of the next phase to realize the development.”

Recipients of Abandoned Mine Lands grants are required to account for how the funds are spent.

“We provide monthly reports of progress and activities of the work. The program support from the Office of Abandoned Mine Lands in Charleston has been available and very helpful, guiding us through the process,” Boggess said. “All grant costs for both phases are submitted to the AML Pilot Program administrators for review and approval for compliance of the grant requirements. The timeline to realize the project has had to be stretched out to accommodate the grant requirements. The work associated with the grant is required to go through the public bid process.”

—  Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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