The city of Huntington will find out later today (Wednesday) if it’s one of the Best Communities in the country.
Last April, Huntington was announced as a finalist for the America’s Best Communities competition. The year-long event will wrap up Wednesday with the top 8 cities giving a final presentation in Denver, Colorado. The winner will be announced at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night.
Community members gathered Monday evening in downtown Huntington to send off their city’s contest representatives. The first place winner in the competition will receive $3 million, 2nd place $2 million and 3rd place will receive $1 million. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said win or lose the competition has been good for the community.
“On getting any project moving forward there is a level of inertia to get moving and now the value that we have is how the community has been involved in Highlawn, in Hal Greer in the Fairfield area and the West End,” Williams said. “The value to our city is that covers the entire city, east to west.”
As part of Huntington’s entry into the competition, the city had to identify areas in the community to improve if it won the prize money. Huntington chose four different areas. All four are part of the Huntington Innovation Project. It includes one, working to turn around the Highlawn neighborhood which deals with old industrial sites; two, the continuing development of a work incubator in the city’s west end at the West Edge factory; three, the revitalization of the Fairfield neighborhood through a Health Innovation Corridor, and finally, the development of broadband, or internet access, throughout the city.
Williams said Huntington has already won in many ways, but he says placing first, second, or third in the competition would be huge for the city.
“Each of these four projects that are being move forward at such a rapid pace because of this competition will change our city for the next 50 years, that’s when we win,” Williams said. “I would love for us to have the title of America’s Best Community, that would do so much for the psyche of our community.”
Any prize winnings from the America’s Best Communities competition will be used to further the four projects the city has highlighted.