BY DAN TAYLOR, ENERGIZING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES PROGRAM COORDINATOR, THE HUB
This year, we’re celebrating communities. For 10 years, the team at the WV Community Development Hub has worked alongside communities in their community development efforts. As part of our efforts to recognize the amazing successes we have seen coming out of WV communities over the past decade, during the month of July, we awarded eight $500 micro-grants to communities we have worked with in the past to bring together friends and neighbors to celebrate how far they’re come.
These eight grantees took part in a competitive application process for a chance to receive funding for an event or activity to document or celebrate their community’s community development successes. The application was open to all communities who have worked in Hub community coaching programs from 2009-2018.
The project awards include:
The community of Shinnston plans to create an additional portion of their town website to house information, photos and a promotional video with footage of recent developments, prominent community members, and local business owners. This video will provide an enticing invitation for potential neighbors to take a closer look, get more information about local projects, and pursue Shinnston as a viable entity in their investments. Information will include a display of attractions and past successes, current projects, available properties for commercial development, and current economic development incentives.
Cowen will hold their third annual Cowen Haunted House. This project began in 2017, and has been extremely popular among children and adults alike in the community. A part of this year’s project will be the addition of a space to share the community’s successes over the past few years.
On October 19th, Big Ugly Creek Road will be transformed into a heritage trail, set up on the 10 mile drive to the Big Ugly Community Center. Community members and visitors can stop at designated posts to experience, explore, and have the opportunity to purchase music, crafts, and heritage foods at the homes and properties of participating Big Ugly residents. The Big Ugly Creek Heritage Trail will be a key part in the slew of activities that will take place on the 19th. BUCC will host its annual Fall Festival, which will include local vendors, a community yard sale, a rock climbing wall and bouncy house for kids, and lots of games for all. To close out the day, local non-profit, Step By Step, will host a farm to table dinner to showcase the community’s heritage foods.
This project will provide an accurate video documentary of the successes and struggles of the community development activities undertaken by Grafton since 2014. The production will serve as a historical record for posterity, an aid to local individuals to more fully appreciate and realize their successes, a mechanism to tell their story to others around the state and beyond, and an inspiration for others to create opportunities for community engagement and development within their own communities.
Madison and Danville
Madison and Danville, in Boone County, will host a “Boone Buy Local” Pledge Party held at the Heritage Center on Main Street in Madison. Community members are coming out to celebrate small businesses in the county, sign a pledge, and be photographed with their pledge to be shared on social media and further publicize the effort. Those signing will pledge to buy from local businesses whenever possible. They will also distribute “Buy Local” bumper stickers. At the celebration, local musicians will play and an arts area will be set up for local children to do artwork about their future career goals.
The community plans to use their funds to host two community events that will keep the momentum and energy flowing, as Richwood graduates the HubCap III program. The first event would be a third annual Opportunity Tour. During this event, the community will work with three Main Street building owners to showcase buildings that are for sale or lease while highlighting the strengths and positive aspects of each building. The second project will be a #richwoodrising rally. Richwood has hosted three successful rallies with over one hundred guests in attendance at each event. At these events, they will discuss current and future projects, positive development, and community achievements.
The arts community of Princeton has long felt the need to honor the artists that catalyzed the shift on Mercer Street. Their team seeks to recognize the human spirit that put the paint brushes to the wall and created the vibrant scene that transformed the desolate street into the healthy atmosphere that attracts so much positive attention today. Due to the large-scale nature of the pubic art project, with eight professional walls and 30 small pieces in their Artists’ Alley, they were unable to pull together a celebration, or unveiling of the murals when they were completed. Now, the community would like to honor the artists by creating book with a profile recognizing each of them.
The community will promote the theme “Celebrating our Successes” throughout this year’s Belington Fall Fest which will be held Sept. 19-21st. During this event, volunteers will have various displays set up throughout the Fall Fest for people to come and see what they’ve accomplished in their community. One display will highlight Rehab efforts at the Golden Rule. There will also be a parade in town with the theme of “Celebrating our Successes” and the volunteer team will judge parade floats based on the use of the theme. During all the events, including a pageant, cake walk, live concert, parade, cornhole tournament, and youth night, they will promote the theme and explain what it means to celebrate this success to community members attending the festival.
These West Virginians who are stepping forward are leading the way toward bright futures for their communities. For some communities, this is the beginning of a re-engagement with The Hub, and we couldn’t be happier to sustain this relationship with them.