Ranson city officials see bright economic prospects despite recent layoffs

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RANSON, W.Va. (WDVM) — The City of Ranson is reeling from a jump in joblessness, but leaders of the eastern panhandle community see hope on the horizon.

For Ranson, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news: a major employer furloughed 40 percent of its workforce. The good news: new business and housing are booming.

Another business casualty of the pandemic: The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town racetrack laid off more than 500 employees.With COVID-19 restrictions in place, access to the gaming, racing and dining venues hit the major Jefferson County facility hard. But plans for a major insulation manufacturer — Rockwool — are seen as landing place for those now in search of work. One problem though: vocal concern in the region about potential environmental impacts.

Tony Grant is Ranson’s city manager and says that “when it comes to the environmental concerns here, I breathe the air just like everyone else. I drink the water here as well.”

And Rockwool’s recent announcement that it will power its operations with cleaner energy is perhaps a sign of their commitment to respecting the environment.

“That the step we set forth with environmental change from coal to natural gas,” says Ranson Mayor Keith Pierson, “is a positive step for everyone to recognize that we all are trying to do the right thing.”

And Ranson points to the boom in residential housing permits fueling the local economy. Ranson plans to generate tourist growth around the rich history the city shares with Charles Town and neighboring sites like Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown.

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