WELCH, W.Va. (AP) – A public-private group is hailing the start of construction for apartment-style housing for West Virginia public school teachers in McDowell County.
Officials for Reconnecting McDowell held a groundbreaking ceremony for the $8 million Renaissance Village housing project Monday in Welch.
The partnership is spearheaded by the American Federation of Teachers, which says in a statement that the housing project is the centerpiece of decade-long efforts to revitalize the county’s schools and economy.
The project is an effort to attract and retain teachers. The building will have 16 apartments on two floors alongside two additional floors of retail and commercial space. It’s the first new multistory construction in the community of 1,800 residents in more than 50 years.
McDowell County has the state’s second-highest unemployment rate at 9.2 percent. Nearly one-third of its 18,200 residents live in poverty.