Groundbreaking day in Jefferson County
Monday will be a big day for Ranson and Charles Town as both towns kick off a groundbreaking ceremony that will launch what officials say are $104 million in community redevelopment projects. Come next week, officials will break ground on a new retail entertainment complex, a new downtown mixed use development center, the restoration of Charles Washington Hall, a new American Public University technology and multipurpose center and the long-planned Fairfax Boulevard, which, first envisioned by Ranson’s original designers in 1891, will link up old Ranson with new along a $9.4 million divided thoroughfare complete with sidewalks and parking that will bring with it the promise of both new residential and commercial development. For a town that has long worked to re-establish its identity in the wake of the disintegration of its industrial base, Monday brings a new day, and a welcome one indeed.
Welcome too, is the growing spirit of cooperation between Charles Town and Ranson as both towns stand to benefit from the growth of both commercial and retail development, the promise of new housing construction, an improved roadway and new jobs.
At a recent meeting of the Charles Town Council, elected leaders agreed to begin to schedule regular meetings with their counterparts in Ranson to begin to find ways where the two could work together, both to improve and streamline services and to make both municipal governments more efficient for residents. While it’s unlikely such meetings would result in anything as ambitious as a full-blown consolidation of both towns’ governments — at least anytime soon — there are clearly areas where more cooperation would benefit everybody. Like the groundbreaking set for Monday, such cooperation would be a welcome development.