Congratulations to the communities of Montgomery and Smithers on their awards of 20 mini-grants in The Hub’s Cultivate WV program! These projects will serve diverse needs of residents of Montgomery and Smithers–providing signage, beautification projects, murals, food pantries, benches, community spaces, events, a community garden, and much more.
The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation is funding $40,000 in mini-grants to invest in the projects implemented by groups of at least three volunteers on the Cultivate WV Montgomery-Smithers team to make visible, measurable improvements to the communities. While completing the projects, participants will attend workshops with The Hub to help make the most of their new community assets.
The two communities are working together to make positive change to the Upper Kanawha Valley within a unique model–the Strategic Initiatives Council, led by Mayor Anne Cavalier of Smithers and Mayor Greg Ingram of Montgomery. You can learn more about the Strategic Initiatives Council here. These projects will help strengthen the bond between the two communities, improve the quality of life of residents, and attract more visitors to the area. We can’t wait to see the projects in action!
The following projects will be implemented within a six month timeline:
The Courtyard Beautification project will provide the residents of the Montgomery General Elderly Care Center access to a beautiful outdoor space to visit with family members and to enjoy the beauty of nature. The project team will remove and replace the overgrown shrubs, provide the necessary maintenance for the trees in the outdoor space, repair and/or replace garden planters, plant perennial and annuals, clean the already existing pond, and purchase fish for the pond area.
Montgomery Free Supply Pantry
The Montgomery Free Supply Pantry project will provide six pantries containing food and personal items throughout the area. Members of the community will be invited to donate canned food items and personal hygiene items to be placed in the pantries to be accessed by those who may be in need.
BridgeValley Youth Outreach Program
The Youth Outreach Program is a project to support youth programs in the area. The programs include an art camp, STEAM camp, after school program, robotics camp, and robotics teams for fourth to eighth grade students in the Upper Kanawha Valley. The project team will utilize the makerspace at BridgeValley called the GRID and will have access to two large rooms to accommodate the youth activities as well as several other rooms in the space that could include activities such as pottery, sewing, and woodworking.
Montgomery General Extended Care – Developing an Outdoor Space
An outdoor space will provide 35 to 44 patients and their families a positive, serene, outdoor environment for visitation and socialization. The outdoor space will also be used for outdoor activities with the residents such as planting and taking care of small box planters that will be filled with flowers and vegetables.
Public Art Mural
The Montgomery Art Group and local youth will create a large mural that depicts interesting aspects of the town of Montgomery. It will be a landmark and welcome sign to the town that will be impactful, colorful, and visible to residents and visitors.
First Friday Farmers Market
The project team is starting a farmers market in Smithers to provide local, organic, and/or home-produced products to the residents of the Smithers/Montgomery area. As part of the monthly market, free educational and well-being activities will be offered.
The Queen of Barks
Queen of Barks is a locally owned and operated small business working to bring pet care closer to home for the Smithers/Montgomery area. The project team is working to renovate the building where the services will be offered. The team plans to host a puppy-friendly meet and greet in the area as well as a regular puppy playgroup in one of the area’s parks.
Smithers Welcome Sign
The Smither Welcome Sign team will refurbish five older existing “Welcome to Smithers” signs by painting them and adding the metal city logo. The metal logo will be produced locally and volunteers will paint the signs. The team will also use this project as an opportunity to maintain and add new plants around the base of the signposts.
Park at 5th and Lee Improvements
The project team will paint the gazebo, install two lights to match the new street lights and set new plaques at the park. The team’s goal is to make the park more attractive and functional for small events such as the Gold Star Mothers event.
River Cities Urban Trail
The River Cities Urban Trail will be a designated safe sidewalk trail of approximately 1 to 2 miles within the City of Smithers. Sign posts and sidewalk stenciling will show distance markers so walkers know how far they have walked. A trail logo will also be designed. The project team will host a community-wide kick off event where residents and visitors will be invited to explore the walkway for the first time. The creation of formal or informal walking groups will be encouraged to get people to use the trail.
Plein Air Art Fair Streetscape
Local volunteers will work together to beautify and promote the City’s “Plein Air Art” Fair by preparing an artwalk and streetscape. The new decor will also act as an alert for drivers passing by to slow down and exercise extra caution around the pedestrians attending. The project will include three aspects: 1) a banner hanging over the street access to the off street fair; 2) two parking spots on the street marked off on fair nights as ‘art spots’ with small wooden benches, potted plants, and promotional banners; and 3) a colorful mural on the street surface.
Envision Summit: Opening the Gateway
The project team will host a community workshop with Ed McMahon as their guest. Mr. McMahon will work with local community leaders, business owners and other residents to complete an area economic development feasibility study. He will share his ideas and lead a discussion for invited local leaders from public, private and potential sectors representing interest in the joint River Cities of Smithers and Montgomery. The goal of this project is to educate and motivate area residents and businesses to create and maintain a Gateway Community.
Smithers Gateway Center Chair Yoga
The team will establish a chair yoga class for the community and surrounding areas. A certified chair yoga instructor has volunteered to teach the class in collaboration. The instructor in collaboration with Active Southern West Virginia will become a certified community captain. The goal is to improve the health and mobility of the people participating in the classes.
City of Smithers Beautification
The team will install benches and planters at the Magic Carpet location. There is currently no seating in this area and is a need in the community. The benches will provide a place for community members to sit and enjoy the area.
Rt 60 Signage (Midtown, Westbound, & Eastbound)
Signage reflecting historic Midland Trail will be designed and installed along Rt 60 to direct vehicles to participating businesses and institutions in both Smithers and Montgomery.
The project is to improve and update the small ark owned by the city of Montgomery located on Morris Drive. The team will work together to make repairs to the basketball court and existing swing set as well as add some picnic tables and waste containers for park visitors to utilize.
Main Street Planters
This project is focused on beautifying the main street of town by providing color and definition. The team will purchase, install and plant flowers in new planters on 3rd Street in Montgomery.
Smithers Community Garden
The project team will establish a community garden located at the Gateway Community Center. Along with the garden, the WVU Health Educator for the county will offer nutrition and gardening classes to people of all ages. The team will be seeking additional funding as a part of this project to build a high tunnel.
Beautify Montgomery with Flowers
The project team will plant flowers around town to beautify the city of Montgomery. The various areas around town include: the gazebo at the entrance of the city, the library, city hall, the bank, and several other prominent buildings. The project team is committed to tending to the flowers during the growing season.
Appalachian Music Festival
The Appalachian Music Festival is a planned four-day event (scheduled for August 25-29) that will provide music lessons, workshops and exhibitors during the day. On Friday and Saturday evening, local and regional musicians will provide concerts that will be open to the public. The festival will end with a gospel singing session on Sunday morning. The team is focused on 1) offering opportunities for lifelong learning and meaningful engagement with the arts; 2) perpetuating an appreciation for the history of Appalachian music; 3) showcasing and promoting regional talent; and 4) promoting young Appalachian performers.