Downtown development efforts spark change in Kingwood

A message from the Blueprint Communities Team of Kingwood:

When we first heard we were going to be a Blueprint Community, we knew our little town of Kingwood was in for some positive changes over the next few years. As a team of volunteers, our first few meetings were day-long learning sessions with team members from the five other Blueprints Communities and representatives from The Hub and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. From there, we repeatedly met with our larger community to hear about the changes everyone would like to see, and what community members would support. 

One of the main goals our community identified is to see the revitalization of downtown Kingwood. Over the years, Kingwood has seen more and more local business owners shutting their doors and buildings being left to deteriorate. A person strolling down the previously bustling South Price Street would see more “For Rent” signs and empty storefronts than open businesses. We aimed to change that together using the resources, trainings, and guidance provided through the Blueprint Communities program, and we started to see progress. 

When COVID-19 hit, we thought we would start moving backwards, but the entrepreneurs of Kingwood proved to be more resilient than that. Since May 2020, three new businesses–Tess Beauty Salon, Pockets of Time Antique and Artisan Marketplace, and Cat Daddy’s Ragin Cajun Cafe have opened, and Preston County Community Action relocated to an empty building on South Price Street.

The progress and dreams for South Price Street continue with plans for the future, including an open space park for community members to enjoy, and monthly block parties for the community to gather, connect, and shop at local businesses (once it is safe to, of course). South Price Street will also be a vibrant showcase of our community with local artwork, and efforts to highlight the available building spaces, and support existing businesses.

Along with the efforts underway for the revitalization of South Price Street, Kingwood has a unique opportunity in that we are becoming more of a destination for outdoor recreation. Preston County Parks and Recreation and the other nearby Rail Trail towns are collaborating and strategizing about the ways to improve and connect with the Kingwood Rail Trail. Main Street Kingwood is also partnering with Mountaineer County CVB to help create and promote packaged tourism for the area, to showcase ways to explore the abundant natural beauty in and around Kingwood. These revitalization efforts are meeting increasing economic opportunities and will lead to even more amazing businesses downtown.

In 2020, we learned that people are resilient. Plans change, and we roll with them. We know with the help of The Hub, FHLB of Pittsburgh, and members of our wonderful community, we will be able to keep Kingwood moving forward. In order to keep this momentum going, and make these community dreams happen, we need to work together!

If you would like to volunteer or learn more, contact us at: blueprintcommunitieskingwood@gmail.com.

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