BY KAYCIE STUSHEK, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS SPECIALIST, THE HUB
Six Blueprint Communities are celebrating a big win as they begin work on recently-awarded mini-grant projects! The Blueprint Communities program was created by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank) to support the development of local leadership, collaboration across sectors, and strategic planning to make a lasting impact on the economic well-being and quality of life for residents. The Hub is currently coaching six Blueprint Communities teams: Kingwood (Preston County), Lewis County, the Meadow River Valley Region of Greenbrier Valley, the Monticello neighborhood of Clarksburg, New Martinsville (Wetzel County), and Parsons (Tucker County).
Blueprint Communities teams create plans and learn skills that enable them to make real movement toward successfully completing large-scale community projects with significant impact. To practice these skills, the six current participants were awarded $5,000 mini-grants to implement projects that will revitalize their communities and provide opportunities to build a shared vision of improvement with local residents.
Congratulations, Blueprint teams! Learn more about each project below:
Kingwood (Preston County)
Kingwood will revitalize an empty downtown corner lot into a pocket park, which will include a place to gather and host activities, seating, landscaping, picnic tables, and bike racks. Part of the grant will also fund a mural and other arts-based work and infrastructure connecting the rail trail to the downtown area. On August 7th, the Price Street Party will be the first event hosted at the new pocket park. Find more info here
The Lewis County team plans to refurbish four gateway signs across the County. This project will help with make the entryways to the communities more welcoming and will beautify the corridors to Lewis County communities.
Meadow River Valley Region of Greenbrier Valley
The community team is using their mini-grant to develop the Meadow River Community Park; this development includes beautification, landscaping, and amenity upgrades and updates. This effort complements existing efforts to improve the walking trail, playground, and park shelter, and to increase river access.
Monticello neighborhood of Clarksburg
The Monticello team is using their funds for the beautification and further development of the Margaret McCoy Community Garden, which is a central asset to the community, offering a place to gather and enjoy the flower and vegetable gardens. Funds will also be used to landscape the Kelly Miller Community Center area, making it a welcoming entryway for the many people who use this community resource.
New Martinsville (Wetzel County)
New Martinsville’s team will use their funding to continue their ongoing Route 2 beautification projects. These projects will be implemented at Bruce Park, where the team is creating multiple art installations and painting 27 murals on the side of an above ground pool, which will serve as a central focal point for the community.
Parsons (Tucker County)
A full revitalization of a pocket park in downtown Parsons is underway. This revitalization includes improved landscaping, seating, places to gather, and a gazebo, making this project a community asset for years to come. The team also hopes this project will bring visitors downtown and boost business for locally-owned shops surrounding the park.