Downtowns play an integral role in a community’s economic development and growth. As the city center, a thriving downtown is a sign of progress and viability and is an attractive feature for new businesses looking to set up shop.
Take the small city of Hinton in Summers County, for example. A booming rail town in the early 20th century, this historic community has seen significant revitalization efforts take place over the last 15 years (learn about a recent development project, the Hinton Ice House, here) to improve Hinton’s quality of life for its residents and also accommodate an increasing number of tourists visiting the southern gateway of the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve. From restaurants to lodging, shopping to entertainment, Hinton’s downtown Historic District has experienced first-hand how a spark of an idea can generate a fire of growth.
There are other cities across our area, like Hinton, that are experiencing this resurgence in their downtowns. One thing that is common across all of them is the importance of planning and collaboration.
Here’s a common problem: a city can have too many of the same type of business and not enough traffic to support them, which isn’t sustainable. You want to meet your community’s needs, but there’s also market saturation to consider.
That’s why a solid infrastructure must be in place for a community to not only survive, but thrive. Development and growth should be consistent with the goals and visions outlined in a town, city or county’s comprehensive plan.
This is where we, the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, can help! It is our mission to initiate, facilitate and support these community and economic development efforts. We know the importance of partnership, and we do this through our unique collaborative ecosystem of supporting programs, the WV Hive Network and Country Roads Angel Network, and initiatives, like Active SWV. In addition to new business attraction, we work with municipalities to relay and address issues facing the business community and the businesses and entrepreneurs themselves to provide the support that they need to succeed.
To put it simply — by working together, we can build thriving communities.
To learn more about how the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority works to connect businesses and communities with the resources that they need to thrive, check out this previous blog post.