Grafton Turns Out for Turn This Town Around


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. 

Eric Pories, the project’s Community Improvement Coach says there is a definite sense that enthusiasm for the effort is building.

“Yes, I think, you know, we’re learning as we go and this was pretty amazing, I mean the momentum for this is building and that’s how communication works in the community. The people are obviously out there talking about it, encouraging other people to get involved. Isn’t that great?”

Community Improvement Coach Eric Pories interacts with a team at Monday night's workshop

Credit Sarah Lowther Hensley
Community Improvement Coach Eric Pories interacts with a team at Monday night’s workshop.

$50,000 is available in mini-grants. August 1, 2014 is the deadline for the teams to submit the applications. Pories says the process is moving right along and now there’s the added excitement – and challenge – of working with several new teams.

“Next step is we’re asking for project applications to be turned in which will be reviewed and then at the next workshop we’ll further refine those projects.  And for those who joined this evening, we’ll have a little bit of catch up work to do, so August fourth will be a big day.”

Pories encouraged the teams to work quickly to get their projects submitted for review.

Turn This Town Around Grafton poster

Credit Sarah Lowther Hensley