U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., left, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Smithers Mayor Dr. Anne Cavalier and Montgomery Mayor Greg Ingram pose for a photograph March 18 outside the Smithers Gateway Center.

SMITHERS — A busy weekend excursion for a federal delegation through West Virginia included a stop at the Smithers Gateway Center on Friday, March 18.

During the appearance in Smithers, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland joined Smithers Mayor Dr. Anne Cavalier, Montgomery Mayor Greg Ingram and Rob Rice from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to visit reclaimed abandoned mine sites in the town.

Also on Friday, Manchin highlighted a $4.688 million investment which he helped secure in the Fiscal Year 2022 funding bill for the Smithers Integrated Trail System.

Supporting information supplied by Smithers while making its Congressionally Directed Spending request said that trails and related development in Smithers and the surrounding area, including municipal partner Montgomery and unincorporated neighbors Boomer, Alloy, Falls View and Charlton Heights, would give a boost to a local economy that has been devastated by several factors in recent years.

“This was a very competitive process,” Cavalier said Thursday. “We literally had to lay our plans and our budgets down and speak to what this money could actually create.

“The projects for our funding are Smithers-based, but what we need is integration with everyone else’s projects so that we can tie them together and make it a seamless and very unique experience for people coming in from out of state.”

According to Manchin’s office, among the other regional allocations included in the FY22 spending package that was signed into law or funded by other appropriations were:

New River Health Association, Scarbro — $5 million for expanded medical facility

New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, Beckley — $1.5 million for multi-use trails connectivity in Fayette County

Greenbrier Public Service District #2, Greenbrier County — Phase II waterline extension, $1.5 million to provide water service to approximately 275 new customers

National Coal Heritage Area Authority, Oak Hill — $415,000 for Mount Hope cultural center restoration

Beckley Airport Taxiway Construction — $2,934,447 to complete the aerospace site development for Raleigh County Memorial Airport, including development of 2,500 feet of taxiway and apron for runway access (this request was funded through a combination of FAA Discretionary and ARP funding).

Kanawha River basin study (Corps of Engineers) — $1.5 million

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