MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Construction of a permanent home for the national Boy Scout Jamboree has pumped nearly $170 million in income into the Southern West Virginia economy over the past four years, according to an economic-impact report released Monday.
The report by SYNEVA Economics of Asheville, N.C., says about $121 million went directly into the community, while another $48 million was an indirect result of construction spending moving through the community.
It also says the Summit Bechtel Reserve, near Oak Hill, has supported an average of 848 jobs between 2010 and 2013, mostly in the construction industry. Those jobs helped boost local employment indirectly, mainly affecting the utility, restaurant and health-care industries.
Tens of thousands of people are arriving for the first Jamboree to be held in West Virginia. It runs through July 24, becoming what Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says will briefly be the state's third-largest city.
Tomblin says the economic payoff from the park is far from over. He anticipates that the Boy Scouts will expand their facilities as word filters out and the organization gears up for the world Jamboree in 2019, the first to take place on U.S. soil.
As the first 40,000 Scouts and leaders go home and tell their friends about the experience, he said, "we would expect that number to grow."
Already, the Boy Scouts of America is projecting about 80,000 people to attend the 2019 event, Tomblin said. That means they'll need to clear more campsites and build more structures, including shower houses and restrooms.
"They got the main things done," he said, "... but there's still a lot of development to be done down there."