West Virginia Governor Jim Justice was in Rainelle on Monday, November 2, to present the town with a grant for a major streetscape project.
Justice appeared in front of the Rainelle Town Hall, along with new interim Mayor Bill Bell and city council members Ron Fleshman and Jon Wyatt. The grant, which is divided into two sections, totals $777,717.
$277,717 of the grant has been used for the purchase of three generators. One of the new generators has been located in town, while the other two have been positioned at the water plant.
The remaining $500,000 of the grant is to be used for the completion of phase-two of the Rainelle Main St. Streetscape Project. The funds will be applied to the cost of design and construction of sidewalk replacement throughout downtown Rainelle.
“I love Rainelle beyond good sense and I’m so excited to be here today to announce this grant,” Justice said. “We’ve given out a bunch of these grants over the last week, but this one today is one of the biggest and we’re bringing it to Rainelle. It’s really good stuff.”
The $500,000 comes from a Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program grant. West Virginia Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails Program (TARTP) grants help towns and cities build and improve sidewalks, lighting, trails, and more. The program is administered by the West Virginia Department of Transportation and funded by the Federal Highway Administration.
“Thank you, Governor Justice, for coming here today to Rainelle,” said former mayor Andrea “Andy” Pendleton. “You have been the powerhouse of West Virginia. You have been the best that we could ever ask for. Governor Justice, we love you so much.”
“This grant is the result of a lot of hard work by so many great people with grit and determination and persistence,” Justice said. “It’s the same hard work that enabled the town to receive a major grant from FEMA as well.”
Prior to the governor’s presentation, the Rainelle City Council held a special session to formally accept former Mayor Jason R. Smith’s resignation, and to appoint his interim replacement. W.Va. state code requires that the position be filled by the town recorder until such time as a qualified candidate is appointed by the city council to serve out the remainder of Smith’s term. Therefore, Recorder Bill Bell has been officially appointed Rainelle’s interim Mayor.
The meeting began with the public reading of Smith’s resignation letter; an opinionated, and often blistering indictment of town officials. After the letter was read, Smith’s resignation was accepted in a unanimous vote of all council members.
In the past week, Justice has awarded 47 TARTP grants, worth a combined total of over $8.6 million, for similar improvement projects all across West Virginia.
The TARTP grants are going to projects in 29 counties in several regions across the state, including:
- North Central West Virginia: $3.0 million for 15 projects
- Eastern Panhandle: $2.3 million for seven projects
- Metro Valley: $1.6 million for 12 projects
- Northern Panhandle: $454,000 for four projects
- Southern Coalfields: $389,000 for five projects
- Wood County: $300,000 for three projects.
Earlier this year, Gov. Justice presented another round of 38 TARTP grants, worth over $7.4 million, for additional projects in 27 counties.
In total, Gov. Justice has awarded over $16 million TARTP grants this year alone to communities all across West Virginia.
“These kind of improvements are what increase tourism and give our local economies all over the state a boost,” Gov. Justice said. “It’s a great thing for our communities and it just makes things better and better for West Virginia.”