Nitro, St. Albans hope to see turnarounds of economy this summer

NITRO, W.Va. — Cities and towns across West Virginia are trying to adjust to the economic hit of the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes Nitro and St. Albans.

Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt appeared on Thursday’s 580-LIVE on 580-WCHS along with St. Albans Mayor Scott James and said the virus has hurt local businesses and pushed back or canceled summer events.

“If we continue to see a lot of these small businesses close, it’s going to impact not just the city but the county and the state for many years to come. I am really pushing that this grant program needs to open up and give capital to these businesses. They are in dire need of it,” Casebolt said of the CARES Act funding that came to the state.

He said many popular events including the movie nights in the park, regatta festival, ales event and others have had to be shut down because of the virus effect on large crowds. Casebolt said the community has accepted those facts and he is proud of the work everyone has been doing.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our citizens here in Nitro and our employees. They have agreed of everything we are trying to do and it has worked,” Casebolt said.

James expressed similar feelings for the people of St. Albans. He said there have been 46 cases of COVID-19 in city limits but 27 are at Riverside Nursing Home.

The city’s largest event of the summer, Yak Fest was canceled a couple of weeks ago. James said the major bands booked had issues.

“Our headliner for Saturday night got canceled because of the coronavirus. Some of the other bands were concerned. Our headliner for Friday night did not cancel but they expressed concern,” he said.

James added local businesses are still struggling even with the reopenings. St. Albans has allowed restaurants to have sidewalks and parking lot dining to help out customers.

He hopes a turnaround is coming.

“I know several of the business owners personally and have known them for a while. Their concern is at 50 percent capacity are they going to be able to make it,” James said.