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The Health Plan officially opens in Wheeling

Thursday was a big day in Wheeling as hundreds of more employees are in downtown Wheeling with the official opening of The Health Plan.

Thursday was a big day in Wheeling as hundreds of more employees are in downtown Wheeling with the official opening of The Health Plan.

It’s a move that is a huge economic boost for the city.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice was in town as part of the ceremony, along with former Wheeling mayors Andy McKenzie and Nick Sparachane, who are credited for getting this project off the ground. Current Mayor Glenn Elliott commended their efforts during a speech.

"They actually worked (Sparachane and McKenzie) to make this happen. They bought these properties and torn them down and worked with the state and The Health Plan to make this happen,” Elliott said. “And for so many years, downtown was a place that used to be something, but this new building -- the first in 3 decades -- is getting people talking as to what downtown can be again.”

Justice said a lot is happening to better the West Virginia’s economy, starting with businesses like The Health Plan making a huge effort.

"The Health Plan coming is just a piece of the puzzle,” Justice said, “but it is a gigantic piece for this area and for our state. But truly we are seeing it in a lot of different factions and places.”

The Health Plan’s move from Belmont County to Ohio County brings in tax revenue, hundreds more people to downtown. It also brings the company home.

"We are a West Virginia corporation and we moved 25 years ago, but I felt a need to come back to West Virginia and our board did as well. Plus, we wanted to be part of the revitalization in downtown Wheeling,” said Jim Pennington, CEO, The Health Plan.

Leaders say it’s just the start to improvements to the downtown area.

West Virginia Department of Transportation Engineer Gus Suwaid was also on hand. He spoke about the paving projects that will be done on Main and Market streets, which surround two sides of the building.

Around 400 plus employees are now in The Health Plan building. They also occupy some of the former Horne’s building.


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