An introduction to Petersburg: a HubCAP Mon Forest Towns community

The community of Petersburg plans to utilize the area’s incredible landscape to grow its recreational tourism economy and support local businesses.

BY STACY THOMAS, COMMUNITY COACHING PROGRAMS ASSOCIATE, THE HUB, AND CARLA KAPOSY, HUBCAP TEAM MEMBER, PETERSBURG

Six communities are participating in The Hub’s HubCAP (Communities of Achievement Program) initiative which focuses on Mon Forest Town communities in its latest iteration. Petersburg is the northernmost of the six communities, taking part as the gateway to the Monongahela Forest from DC, Baltimore, and Northern Virginia. Petersburg team member and business owner, Carla Kaposy, shared a few words to introduce her community:

Outdoor recreation is what defines Petersburg! Visitors and locals alike spend their days kayaking and swimming in the rivers and streams surrounding our community in Grant County. The Mon Forest provides so many possibilities for outdoor adventure, from hiking and rock climbing, to camping and fishing. Our area has some unique assets that attract visitors not only from our region, but from around the entire country, like the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area with its extensive hiking trails, blueberry and huckleberry picking, and fantastic views. Nearby, Smoke Hole Caverns offers the World’s Largest Ribbon Stalactite, a huge gift shop, and plenty of cabins for travellers to unwind. Unique to our area is the Eastern Soaring Center, offering scenic glider winch launches that give a 360-degree view of the valley while floating as high as 2500 feet above the ground.  

A short drive on our beautiful mountain roads will quickly get you to Seneca Rocks or Nelson Rocks Outdoor Adventures for zip lining and rock climbing. Swilled Dog Cidery and West Virginia’s highest point, Spruce Knob, are also nearby.  

We have abundant outdoor resources, as many flock to our area to enjoy more of the great outdoors. We are looking forward to expanding on the tremendous assets that the river and forest have to offer while being good stewards to our land, wildlife, air, and water that we have come to know and love. Our team is focused on attracting more visitors to stay and spend time in Petersburg when they visit the Mon; we hope to do this by growing our tourism assets in town through business growth and development. We also plan to work with our partners at WVU to help address some landscape design challenges and improve the aesthetics in our community. Petersburg has an active and committed team that is looking forward to many wins and accomplishments throughout this process.


Stacy Thomas is The Hub’s Community Coaching Programs Associate. You can reach her at s.thomas@wvhub.org.

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Systemic Change

2021 became a time period of catalytic potential as we saw years of investment into our core strategies to enact systemic change yield new results. Our strategic focus areas include policy, communications, and supporting the community economic development system in leveraging unique financing opportunities such as the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative and Opportunity Zones.

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Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

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Residents participated in the Cultivate WV program to kickstart community and economy building. Read their community case study.

Kingwood

Residents participated in the Blueprint Communities* program to engage their neighbors and co-create strategic plans for their future.

Lewis County

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A core team led by Woodlands Development Group also participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Community Coaching

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Franklin

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Marlinton

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Petersburg

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White Sulphur Springs

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Leadership Development

As hundreds of people began to engage in our virtual training activities in 2020, we saw a critical opportunity to scale and deepen our impact. This year, The Hub team developed an accessible, virtual platform with options for self-guided and group learning activities as well as professional coaching.

Kickstart Communities is now the crux of our efforts to bring new people into the work and grow their leadership. These activities now form the foundational stages of a Community Leadership Development Pipeline to move motivated residents from seeing the challenges in their communities to proactively collaborating to resolve them.

Message from our Executive Leadership Team

Fifteen years ago, stakeholders building up local communities and economies in West Virginia convened to map a coordinated strategy to systemically grow community economic development activity in the state. From the shared vision and collaborative leadership of dozens of strategic partners across the state, the WV Community Development Hub was born.

Since that time, The Hub has grown into the anchor community development organization serving West Virginia. We have built upon the original vision to create a method for rural, community-led development strategies that is uniquely tailored to the needs and opportunities of our state.

As we have grown and developed a proven model for success, our partnerships with community and economic development practitioners, funders, and committed West Virginia residents have been foundational to every element of our work.

Over the past two years, the team at The Hub has adapted to the unprecedented challenges our communities have faced during the pandemic by leaning into our core strengths to deepen our impact. The Hub remains committed to tackling persistent challenges, and we have focused our attention on the most impactful elements of our work.

We are supporting community leaders to advance their visions for local development, creating new pathways for engagement and leadership growth through our virtual training platform, and leading strategies that lift up voices of community leaders to move forward solutions to long-held challenges to growth.

If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that nothing about the future is set in stone. While the coming year may present enormous opportunities for advancement in our state, they will also inevitably require significant capacity building, shared strategies that are grounded in trust-based partnerships, and extended efforts to support the leadership development of individuals and organizations who have been asked to do more during a time of extreme stress and strain.

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We look forward to continuing to do the work of putting into action the vision and the shared strategies envisioned by that core group of community economic development practitioners and funders fifteen years ago.

In Continued Accompaniment,

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Executive Leadership Team

Stephanie Tyree

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Amanda Workman Scott

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Emma Pepper

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Katie Loudin

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