BY DAN TAYLOR, ENERGIZING ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITIES PROGRAM COORDINATOR, THE HUB
On a beautiful fall morning in early October, I took a road trip down to Mullens, West Virginia, located in the hills of Wyoming County, south of Beckley.
Through The Hub’s Innovation Acceleration Strategies program, we were able to award mini-grant funds to a few excellent community teams working on projects to uplift the area. Projects such as community art classes (see a short video of the class), a forthcoming remote control (RC) car race track for youth and others, and the Bike Friendly Mullens project – the initiative I was on the road to check out – were all recipients.
Nearby resident and rail trail enthusiast, Matthew Allen, in partnership with the City of Mullens and Councilman Reece Neely, worked to put together the Bike Friendly Mullens project.
“The City of Mullens is a unique and important part of Wyoming County,” said Matthew. “Projects like Coalfields Expressway, Barkers Creek Industrial Park and our proposed Rails-to-Trails project will feed off the energy that a community like Mullens can provide.”
Bike Friendly Mullens is a part of a larger vision for a more recreation-friendly Wyoming County. While the Hatfield McCoy trail system is already booming and bringing people into the area, there is so much more opportunity for rail trails on old abandoned rail lines for cyclists, for hiking trails like the Great Eastern Trail, and kayaking and canoeing on the Guyandotte River.
Bike Friendly Mullens was able to install three new bike racks and five “Share the Road” signs, important infrastructure for making cycling better promoted and safer for youth, locals and county visitors.
Reece was kind enough to take a few hours out of his busy day to show me these new improvements and so much more that Mullens has to offer.
We began our trip at City Hall downtown and headed toward West Mullens. We encountered the first Share the Road sign there, on Moran Avenue at the entrance to this idyllic family neighborhood.