While it would be premature to stay that this town has been turned around, what is undeniable is that since Whitesville began its Turn This Town Around campaign just a few short months ago, it is a visibly different place.
They are small improvements. Some new planters in the main street. A bit of landscaping at the local park. A touch-up at the entrances to town. But they are the real and tangible manifestations of an excitement for community improvement that Turn This Town Around has brought to this small community of about 500 near the border of Raleigh and Boone counties.
As we reported a few weeks ago, the people of Whitesville have grabbed their future by the horns and are raising money and support for projects that they believe will begin the long and difficult process of bringing families, businesses and some level of prosperity and opportunity back to the community they love.
And as we learned during our latest Turn This Town Around meeting in the Whitesville Volunteer Fire Department station last night, they are showing no signs of letting up now.
If you’re interested in plugging in to any of the community initiatives about to launch in and around Whitesville, here’s a few upcoming opportunities.
- On Friday, April 24, a Health & Wellness Expo will be held at the Raleigh-Boone Technical Center gymnasium in Pettus. The event is free and open to the public.10 a.m. – 3 p.m. More info: Sue Pauley – firstname.lastname@example.org
- This coming Monday, April 27, there will be an informational meeting about how Whitesville might start a co-op grocery store. Rotary Room of the Whitesville State Bank, 6 p.m. More info: Adam Pauley – email@example.com
- They started their own farmers market! Last weekend saw the launch of the Big Coal River Farmers’ Market at the Coal Heritage Riverwalk, and the plan is to continue it every other Saturday. More info: Sheila Combs – firstname.lastname@example.org, or at their Facebook event page.
- On Tuesday, May 5, a meeting will be held to discuss what to do about a number of abandoned and dilapidated buildings in Whitesville. The meeting is the kickoff to Whitesville $10,000 technical assistance grant awarded by the Northern Brownfields Assistance Center to find potential solutions to the problem of such buildings in our communities. Business owners and building owners are especially encouraged to attend. Salamy Building, 6 p.m. More info: Adam Pauley – email@example.com
- Green thumbs and volunteers are needed on the morning of Saturday, May 9. The people of Whitesville will be doing landscaping and beautification work at Whitesville Elementary School. To get involved, contact Cheryl Nichols – firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The next Turn This Town Around meeting will be held at the fire station, May 19, 6 p.m. All welcome!
While all this is going on, teams of Whitesville citizens continue to work on other exciting projects, including the creation of rail-trail along a section of disused CSX rail corridor along Coal River, converting vacant land in the center of town into an active community space, a 24-hour emergency clinic, and improving local cell phone reception.
Power to the people.