Former Hub communities work to reimagine their futures through the Fulcrum Project

The community of Grafton is working together to envision a revamped Tygart Lake.
BY MORGAN HAAS, PROGRAM COORDINATOR, WVU DAVIS COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND DESIGN

The work of community entrepreneurship and democracy often encompasses the work of matchmaking. This was the goal of the newly launched Fulcrum Project, a collaboration between the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design and The Hub, funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. This project began last fall to develop partnerships with current and former Hub communities and assist with design projects throughout West Virginia.Working in communities requires building deep and mutually beneficial relationships to leverage individual strengths for a common good. The Fulcrum Project played the connector role in an existing web of community projects throughout West Virginia. 

The Fulcrum Project continued the process for communities that had already identified projects through previously facilitated capacity-building activities with The Hub, but community members may not have had certain skills, resources, or time to complete the projects. The program matched communities with a faculty member and student team to complete design work with input from community members. This allowed residents the opportunity to tap into the expertise of faculty and energy of students by developing projects around local food, horticulture, landscape architecture, land reclamation, forestry, wetlands, tourism planning, entrepreneurship, water quality, interior design, and many other subject areas. 

Meadow River Valley established a design concept for senior housing for the community’s school redevelopment project.

The Fulcrum Project will continue to work closely with The Hub and other organizations to match the university teams to twenty meaningful and achievable projects through 2021. During 2020, ten community projects were completed in the Fall. Some of these projects included downtown revitalization and trail development in Kingwood, designing tourist accommodations in Kimball, building redevelopment in Rupert, riverfront property development in Grafton and Hinton, and more. The communities of Meadow River Valley, Kingwood, Richwood, New Martinsville, Hinton, Kimball, and Grafton were able to have projects completed and view the designs during a virtual event in December. 

Richwood is working to envision the redevelopment of a green space for recreational tourism opportunities.

With the first round of projects coming to a close, The Fulcrum Project is now accepting applications for 2021. Just like the first round, communities are encouraged to submit projects that could enhance their local economies and quality of life. Fulcrum Project communities are required to have participated in a Hub program in the past. Find more information and the application here. Applications are due March 5, 2021. Please contact The Fulcrum Project Coordinator Morgan Haas for more information at mhaas3@mail.wvu.edu

Morgan Hass is the Program Coordinator at WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design. You can reach her at mhaas3@mail.wvu.edu

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