Quality of PlaceCommunity development agents in all four counties work to improve the quality of place by facilitating the development of recreational initiatives, promoting growth of local farmers’ markets and community gardens, and supporting the preservation of cultural and historical initiatives.
- restore and sustain the sites and places for which West Virginia owes its origins
- create venues where the “wild & wonderful” can be experienced and accessible to residents and visitors
- bring the small farm back to the West Virginia landscape and provide opportunity to connect the local farms to tables
- restore the small downtowns as attractive and cool places to be
- address the inevitable blight that remains from decades of a boom and bust economy
- bring citizens together in efforts of revitalizing, repurposing, and restoring pride of location
- provide meaningful and sustainable economic opportunity for entrepreneurs and businesses both small and large
We are currently working closely with a Foundation which owns and manages an historic high school, in securing the resources to thoroughly assess the preservation requirements, marketing opportunities, and sustainable operations required to keep this facility viable. We create partnerships with groups such as the Preservation Alliance of WV, AmeriCorps, the local municipality, the Historic Landmark Commission, and the WV Commission on the Arts. On the recreation front, it was recognized that there was a location which would provide strategic access to Summersville Lake for small watercraft. Our agent initiated dialogue which included the City of Summersville and the Army Corps of Engineers, resulting in the development of a plan for implementing this access. The launch will alleviate crowding at the current lake access points, provide a convenient access location near town, and allow many additional small craft users to enjoy the largest lake in West Virginia. As most small downtowns in West Virginia have declined in patronage, our agents are participating in community revitalization efforts aimed at beautification, enhanced walkability, and promotion of cluster business development. Revitalization requires a sustained effort and our agents are located right where the action is – and they can bring persistent effort to the table in support of these initiatives.