Patricia Rucker


PO Box 507
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425



Legislative Address:
State Capitol, Room W-223
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305-0800

Press Conference in Charles Town


I held a press conference yesterday at the Court House in Charles Town.  Here is the text of what I said:

I am here today to bring good news.  We can all use a little good news.  I am going to introduce legislation that will finally break the impasse in Harpers Ferry regarding Hilltop House.  The legislation will be called the Tourism Development District Act

Tourism is an essential industry here in the Eastern Panhandle.  In Jefferson County it accounts for more than 1/3 of all the jobs.  It is therefore essential that we do not waste opportunities to grow this crucial segment of our economy.

The Tourism Development District Act will directly help small municipalities like Harpers Ferry to be able to handle larger projects like Hilltop House. 

The legislation will apply to:

  • Municipalities with a population of 2,000 or less and;
  •  Projects over $25 million that have an agreement with the West Virginia Development Office that qualifies them for the Tourism Development Act Project Tax Credit and have been approved for the tax credit.

I had some initial concerns about this process.  However, placing these large projects under the jurisdiction of the WVDO ensures that the resources will be available to handle and manage them.  Additionally, the bill provides mechanisms that ensure that the local governmental bodies such as the municipality of Harpers Ferry and Jefferson County will get the maximum benefit from the revenues generated. 

I am introducing this legislation for a number of compelling reasons:

The timing is right.

  • The State, under Governor Justice and the legislature has renewed its focus on Tourism. That’s good news for Jefferson and Berkeley Counties that rely on tourism.  Especially Jefferson.
  • We need to act on opportunities that promote tourism. It is our largest industry and allows us to maintain the character of our community. 
  • The delays experienced by the developers of the Hill Top House Hotel is indicative of the challenges faced when attempting to work with a small municipality that may not have the resources to facilitate such a project. The potential revenues lost to the city of Harpers Ferry and the County as well as local businesses were large losses and they were unnecessary losses. This could have and should have been avoided.
  • The Tourism Development District Act will provide the regulatory certainty that investors need in order to be able to take the risks that are inherent in any project of this size and scope.
  • The Tourism Development Act supports local development and small municipalities by providing the regulatory framework and foundation on which the project rests.

The Economic Benefits of the Hill Top House Hotel are divided into two time frames:

  1. One-time impacts during the two-year construction period are estimated to include:
  1. 239 jobs on-site each year 
  2. $28 million each year in Labor income
  3. $7.2 million in Total tax impact, statewide
  4. $105 million in Economic output statewide

     2.  Ongoing impact of hotel operations are estimated to include yearly:

  1. 217 Jobs
  2. $9 million in Labor income
  3. $3.6 million in Total tax impact, statewide
  4. $38 million in Economic output

 Just from the increased tax revenue Jefferson County will receive:

  1. Additional tax revenues that could eventually be in the millions from ongoing hotel operations, remitted annually to Jefferson County and its School District.
  2. Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax revenues estimated at $340,000 remitted annually to the Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

In summary, the Hill Top House Hotel represents a $130 million opportunity.  Those involved in the project are planning to bring the hotel back to its former glory – featuring a 129 room world class tourist destination.

I feel strongly that the time has come, after 13 years of Hill Top House Hotel struggles, 13 years of lost opportunity, lost revenue, lost business; the time has come to turn a loss into a win and allow the State of West Virginia to provide an assist; to support a mechanism for large investments to be made in our history, economy and prosperity. 

For all these reasons, Senators Charles Trump and Craig Blair of the 15th District, in the Eastern Panhandle, Randy Smith of the 14th District, a portion of which is also in the Eastern Panhandle and I are going to co-sponsor and introduce the Tourism Development District Act next week in the legislature.