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by Troy Graham
(June 5)Harrison County development officials announced Thursday that Clarksburg is no longer being considered by a Canadian paper company as a possible site for a new plant.
A Prescott Paper Products Co. official said Clarksburg fell short because it did not have a facility that suited the company's needs.
Prescott needs a 60,000-square-foot facility, while the proposed site in Clarksburg -- the shell building -- only has 30,000 square feet, said George Colgan, who will be the plant manager at the new site.
The company looked at buildings in other areas that were large enough to accommodate Prescott's needs, he said. In addition, the other buildings are already built, while the shell building is still under construction, Colgan said.
Before looking at the other sites, however, Colgan said Clarksburg was his first choice.
"Your community was a very good community. It had very nice people, nice infrastructure," he said. "We really enjoyed our stay there."
Clarksburg was one of four finalists for the plant, said Ray Farley, the director of the Harrison County Development Authority. Prescott officials traveled throughout the community and talked to residents in the neighborhoods and stores around Clarksburg, he said.
"That intelligence in their words solidified why we were in the final four," Farley said.
Botetourt County, Va., and a community in Ontario are still in the running for the new plant and the 50 jobs it will bring, Farley said.
Colgan also said Prescott was upset when the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram reported the company's interests in the area. Prescott wanted its interest to be kept confidential, Colgan said.
"Confidentiality is important in any business subject," he said. "The way it was handled left a mark against your particular area, but not the community."
But even if the story hadn't run in the newspaper, Prescott still would not have located here because of the size of the shell building, Colgan said.
In addition, members of the Harrison County Development Authority board defended the newspaper's right to run the story.
The paper learned of the story when Clarksburg City Manager Percy Ashcraft informed city council of Prescott's interest.
"It was not done in executive session and for the lack of the opportunity to do that, I regret," Ashcraft said. "But, I'm going to defend the process. Clarksburg's media is not aggressive, it's responsible."