BY STACY RAFFO, COMMUNITY COACHING PROGRAMS ASSOCIATE, THE HUB
Last fall, we kicked off our HubCAP (Communities of Achievement Program) in six communities working on the Mon Forest Towns initiative: Cowen, Elkins, Franklin, Marlinton, Petersburg and White Sulphur Springs. Each community works with a Hub community coach to help set and meet their goals for the program, which all relate to building the recreational tourism economy of the area along with Mon Forest Towns. This week, we’d like to introduce you to the community of Elkins and the team dubbed “Randolph Ready.”
The Randolph Ready team is composed of community members from not only Elkins, but throughout Randolph County. This team is taking a county-wide approach to building better recreational economies by focusing on trail development, riverfront development, wayfinding, kiosks, and arts and beautification. The team is also looking for opportunities for business development and retention. We recently spoke to the Randolph Ready team about their community’s experience with the Mon Forest Towns initiative.
The Hub: Why is the Mon Forest and outdoor recreation so important to your community?
Randolph Ready: The Mon Forest and outdoor recreation are at the intersect for the community and its visitors. For current residents, their quality of life is enhanced through healthy, fun, family-centered activities around the Forest. And for those visiting the area, the Forest provides opportunities to hike, bike, fish, and more. These beautiful mountains provide a scenic backdrop for both everyday life and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
The Hub: How do you see resiliency in your community?
Randolph Ready: Some community institutions have endured, through good times and bad, sustaining Elkins as a regional hub. These include the hardwoods industry, Davis & Elkins College, the hospital, and local banking.
The Hub: What assets are you most excited to focus on or expand?
Randolph Ready: We’re excited to focus on numerous improvements for our community: historical properties, public art, and riverfront redevelopment. We’d also like to fully optimize what the Mon Forest has to offer while embracing the “Leave no Trace” ideology.
The Hub: What makes your community unique?
Randolph Ready: Elkins is home to diverse local food, art, music, and history, distinctive fairs, festivals, and events, and the spirit of collaboration.The Randolph Ready team has some big goals already established, and they are continuing to look for more ideas and team members to help with their work. To get involved, contact Anne Beardslee at the Elkins Depot Welcome Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.