BY KAYCIE STUSHEK, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS SPECIALIST, THE HUB
In early June, 75 people gathered virtually to connect and learn about the amazing work happening in six West Virginia communities through the Blueprint Communities program, an initiative of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, and implemented in West Virginia by the team at The Hub.
Community teams from Kingwood, Lewis County, Meadow River Valley region of Greenbrier County, the Monticello neighborhood of Clarksburg, New Martinsville, and Parsons have been working toward planning and executing community-led projects, and have continued their investment into making a positive difference in their communities, even during this time of social distancing.
While originally planned as in-person event, community teams prepared to make the most of this virtual session, sharing photos, videos and PowerPoint presentations to pitch their projects to 25 experts from across the region representing service providers, funders, higher education, and other key areas for success. These partners were able to give feedback on the community projects, offer ideas for connections and collaborations, and resources the communities could utilize to move their projects forward.
“I have a new sense of energy and feel inspired by everyone’s goals,” says Kristy Ash of the Kingwood team. Janet Preston with the Parsons team also felt inspired, sharing, “Many of our communities are vastly different, but many seem to be addressing the same things, I am seeing a lot of possibilities.”
Community projects and initiatives that moved forward included:
- Price Street business support and building redevelopment initiatives in Kingwood;
- Trails and community spaces initiative in Lewis County;
- Rupert School redevelopment initiative in Meadow River Valley;
- Kelly Miller Building community center and soccer field initiative in Monticello;
- The 3 B’s initiative (Building redevelopment, Business support, and Beautification + arts projects) in New Martinsville; and
- Downtown Redevelopment with a focus on recreation, business and buildings support and developing a new downtown open space for the community in Parsons.
The community team members were happy to have seen all their hard work and preparation pay off with valuable connections made and resources gathered at this event.