FAIRMONT — It’s not too often film crews are spotted around Fairmont.
Wednesday at its bi-weekly meeting, the Marion County Commission voted to support a film project that will be happening in the county in the coming months.
Commission President Randy Elliott said that Rivesville native Bob Tinnell, of Morgantown, won a bid from the Lifetime Movie Network to film two movies in Marion County based on murder mystery novels by Ann Rule. The commission agreed to fund $10,000 for the project.
Tinnell was the brains behind the recent “Feast of the Seven Fishes” movie that was filmed in Marion County.
“It’s really exciting because it’s a kind of unique … I’m glad that he’s gotten this opportunity for Marion County,” Elliott said. “Our current estimate is that we will be contracting approximately 1,900 hotel room nights … that’s a lot of money coming into Marion County.”
The influx of people will no doubt benefit local businesses outside of the hotels and motels.
Elliott also reported that the production has already contracted a local caterer. The location of the filming is undisclosed, but as the process comes into the public, there may be opportunities for residents to act as extras in the film.
The production period started this month and will run through September.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the commission also heard a presentation from Philip Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Botanic Gardens in Monongalia County.
Smith came to not only spread awareness about the nonprofit garden, but to thank the commission for the support Marion County residents provide to the garden.
“We get some money from the Mon County parks and trails levy but it’s not a lot. But we’re able to do what we do because of volunteer work,” Smith said. “We have a lot of volunteers from Marion County, and we have a lot who come to participate in events. I just wanted to come today and acknowledge those volunteers and thank Marion County for supporting what we’re doing.”
According to Smith, the garden — located just off Route 7 outside of Morgantown — is only a 20-minute drive from Fairmont at 1061 Tyrone Road.
The garden is situated on 85 acres of land and gardens tended by volunteers and part-time workers. Although the garden does attract tourism, it’s still one of the “hidden gems” of north-central West Virginia. The garden’s facilities are still growing as well. Smith told the commission that recent donations and grants are being used to build a new event facility and visitor’s center, which will open in the coming years.