Community Development

Catherine Moore

Early one morning this past January, two Clay County school busses pulled up at the state capitol complex in Charleston. Inside were members of the group “What’s Next, Clay County?”, one of twenty-five communities across the state that is organizing to strengthen their local economy as a part of the “What’s Next, WV?” initiative. 

Over seventy people attended their first community meeting last fall—not a small feat in a community of their size. They chose five areas to focus their work: youth and education; infrastructure; small business; drugs; and cleaning up trash and dilapidated properties.

Stephanie Petersen

Friday marked the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps- a volunteer service program that works on a number of community development projects across the country. The ceremony was a rare opportunity for AmeriCorps members from across the country to come together—along with alumni and community partners.

Roxy Todd takes a tour of Charleston’s West Side Flats to see the area’s community improvement efforts.  And such efforts are the focus in Fairmont as well where native Kate Greene has returned from Montana to lead business building on Main Street. Also State Impact Pennsylvania reports on the noise from natural gas compressor stations.

http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/

PBS NewsHour/Sam Weber

We often hear about urban cities, like Detroit, that are dealing with abandoned, dilapidated buildings. But some communities in West Virginia are struggling with neighborhood blight too.

The WV Hub is working with partners across West Virginia to plan a three day event in Huntington this October. The summit will help people across West Virginia who are working to fix blighted, abandoned and dilapidated properties. Civic groups in Huntington have been collaborating on this type of work and have made great strides recently.

Roxy Todd

On a sultry summer evening, three women are killing harlequin beetles in an effort to save the greens at the SAGE micro-farm on Rebecca Street that they landscaped themselves.

Last year, Kathy Moore, Jenny Totten and Meg Reishman completed 18 agriculture and business classes through SAGE, which stands for Sustainable Agricultural Entrepreneurs. Kathy says she loves getting to take home an unlimited supply of fresh vegetables each week.

Grafton Turns Out for Turn This Town Around

Jul 21, 2014
Sarah Lowther Hensley

We continue our coverage of the Turn this Town Around Project. This series follows two towns, Grafton in north central West Virginia and Matewan in southern West Virginia, as they undergo projects to help the towns look better and revitalize community development. Monday night, Grafton held its third public training workshop to help teams continue to focus their efforts and get ready to apply for funding.

The welcome surprise at Monday’s meeting was an overwhelming turnout. More than 135 people showed up, excited and ready to talk about how to “turn their town around.” For many of them, it was their first “Turn this Town Around” meeting. 

What's next for West Virginia? That's a question that will be posed to community members at meetings across the state in the coming months.  The West Virginia Center for Civic Life promotes local dialogue to challenge us to talk about problems and find solutions to better the quality of life here.  The center is holding its 18th annual Civic Life Institute at the University of Charleston on June 4 and 5.  The institute will train citizens from across the state to hold and facilitate local meetings to find out what's next for West Virginia.   Center director Betty Knighton and Catherine Moore, an Appalachian Transition Fellow assigned to the project, stopped by our studios to talk with West Virginia Morning host Beth Vorhees about the initiative.