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Potomac Highlands

Region of West Virginia

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In 2015, Pendleton County, WV, and the broader Potomac Highlands region (including Hardy, Hampshire, Grant, Mineral, and Pendleton counties) experienced a significant economic loss when the Sugar Grove Naval Station shut down its operations. The base provided a stable source of income for its employees and in turn local businesses that relied on the patronage of the workers at the base for their livelihoods.

As a result of the closure of the Sugar Grove base, the Pendleton County Commission, in coordination with the Region 8 Planning and Development Council, engaged researchers at West Virginia University to develop a Strategic Action Plan to promote the economic development in the Potomac Highlands Region. The development of the Strategic Action Plan was completed through a four-pronged approach with the completion of (1) an economic impact analysis of the Sugar Grove Naval Base closure and economic profile of the region; (2) a cluster analysis that made recommendations for industrial targeting based on an assessment of existing economic conditions in conjunction with industry-specific growth potential; 3) a workforce and educational assessment of the Potomac Highlands counties; and 4) extensive interviews with business and community stakeholders in the region. Based on these findings, we make six recommendations that make up our proposed Action Plan for Economic Prosperity in the Potomac Highlands region.