Heartbreak of Psoriasis

Yesterday WSAZ-TV reported on Kinetic Park in Huntington.  As originally envisioned, Kinetic Park was to be a technology park closely connected to Marshall University.  Today only a dermatologist’s office and an accounting firm reside on the upper level of the site.  Surrounding them is the West Virginia equivalent of sagebrush.

The strangest part of the WSAZ story concerned site infrastructure.  Dr. Susan Touma, the on-site dermatologist (an anchor tenant for nerdy technology types?), told the reporter: “We had phone lines put in and a lot of different other things that weren’t in place.”  WSAZ went on to report that contractors were just laying cable for TV and high speed internet access yesterday.  How on earth can you claim to have a technology park when you don’t even have high speed internet access available on your site?  I had always assumed that Kinetic Park had not succeeded because of the lack of needed entrepreneurial talent in Huntington.  Now I learn it may have been the lack of internet?

Before anyone in Morgantown laughs about the plight of Huntington’s Kinetic Park, please take a tour of the West Virginia University Research Park on Route 705 in what otherwise is a booming area of Morgantown.  According to a November 2002 WVU press release about the Research Park, then Vice President for Research John Weete said: “It is fully expected that the WVU Research Park will become a self-sufficient, cost-effective, world-class center of research, technology development, commercialization and business activity resulting from strong links between the park occupants and the intellectual capital of WVU”  … in “multi-tenant buildings totaling approximately 650,000 square feet of space.”  This quote is not intended to be a clue to help you locate the site.  All I can say is: Look for the West Virginia equivalent of sagebrush.  If any place has the sagebrush market cornered, it’s West Virginia University’s Research Park.

As someone will surely tell me, the heartbreak of psoriasis is no laughing matter.  We need to figure out why Kinetic Park, WVU’s Research Park and the Dow Technology Center in South Charleston are in their present conditions and what, if anything, we might be able to do to change it.

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~ by Dennis Taylor on 23 July 2009.

9 Responses to “Heartbreak of Psoriasis”

  1. Any student of Earl Core will tell you that the West Virginia equivalent of sagebrush is broomsedge.

    MA, Biology, 1970, WVu

    • Agatha, thanks for demonstrating how valuable a WVu (assume the little ‘u’ was intentional) education in the sciences can be. Strangely, I drove past the WVU Research Park’s broomsedge just a few moments ago. There is more of it than I recalled. I’m sure we will find your renowned mystery-solving skills of help from time to time.

      • As you can tell, I got my degree the old fashioned way….

      • …. Agatha, I thought there was only one way to earn a degree at WVu …. As John Houseman used to say in those old Smith Barney commercials: “We make money the old fashioned way, we EARN it.”

  2. But, this discussion highlights a significant point: Government/Universities expending large sums of funding, and issuing imperial edicts, guarantees nothing. In New Orleans, the technology upstarts are generally from young people who are looking for basic, simple office space. We have several spaces created downtown for such young people and all it provides is internet access, a room, and a bathroom. If they have their laptops, and access to the net, they have all they need.

    No major technological marvel was created at a Technology Park. They are created in basements, coffee shops and garages. These parks are a throwback to the 1970s, put bluntly, by outdated people with outdated thinking. I hope we have seen the last of them.

    • Troy, I agree that all some people need for innovation is a personal computer and a bathroom. Sometimes, however, more is needed, particularly in the way of laboratory or warehouse space.

      The basic idea behind technology parks is more basic than providing innovators with basic amenities, though. Rather, it is that bringing smart people together in one place will spark greater innovation than having smart people work in isolation. I do disagree with your claim that technology parks have not produced much in the way of innovation and will discuss that issue in an upcoming post.

      More to the point, you’re suggesting that you don’t need a technology park for innovation – and that you can bring smart people together anywhere, including existing facilities. I couldn’t agree more and will provide an example of one such innovative “research park” in an upcoming post.

  3. […] Heartbreak of Psoriasis. 23 July. In this post, I poke a little fun at Huntington’s Kinetic Park research park. For […]

  4. […] interested?  Well I have written two posts lately in which I used dermatological wordplay – “Heartbreak of Psoriasis” – about the dermatologist anchor tenant in Huntington’s Kinetic Park – and […]

  5. […] peel, anyone? On 28 July 2009 Last week I wrote about the struggles of Kinetic Park in Huntington with its dermatologist anchor-tenant and indicated that I would write about the […]

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