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Charles Pointe should lead the way to a new economy

It's the biggest economic development project in this area since the announcement of the FBI complex a decade ago. The Charles Pointe development near Bridgeport, estimated to cost $750 million, is both ambitious and visionary. It is also timely, just as the state prepares to convert from a coal-based to a high-tech economy.

Genesis Partners, the main developer of the community, plans to build 250 high-tech homes, a conference center with hotels, a corporate research park, retail shops, recreation areas and a golf course. Located along Interstate 79, it would truly be the capstone to the high-tech corridor we've been touting for so long.

The developers have joined with West Virginia University to foster private sector research in biometrics, forensics and health sciences. This would result in the recruitment of highly skilled workers to North Central West Virginia, and the influx of millions of government and private sector grant dollars.

One of the first projects to be started will be the conference center to be operated by the city of Bridgeport. We have expressed doubts in the past about the county commission's quest for a conference center, but in this case, while it would not be a money maker for Bridgeport, the other facets of Charles Pointe would greatly benefit the city.

The concept of a planned community is nothing new, but this is something totally unique for West Virginia. It's an exciting time and we feel Charles Pointe may be the impetus to finally lift our economy and our quality of life to heretofore unprecedented levels.

We applaud the efforts of James and Jennifer Corton, the entire Charles E. "Jim" Compton family, West Virginia University, the city of Bridgeport and the other partners as they proceed with this endeavor.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of both the Exponent and Telegram editorial boards.

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