DARRE Spotlight: The Hermitage Inn brings new excitement to downtown Petersburg

Jason and Carla Kaposy aren’t new to renovations or projects, they bought and renovated their first building in downtown Petersburg in 2002, before ever buying a house. Fifteen years later, they have several renovation projects under their belt and have opened, operated and sold several successful businesses. Then came their biggest challenge yet. The couple purchased the historic Hermitage Inn, a hotel and restaurant built in 1841. The inn was a core piece to Petersburg’s bustling downtown and is now part of the impressive development happening in the community.

As the Conventions and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Director, Carla had been involved in Petersburg’s HubCAP team that focused on building recreational economies around recreational assets tied to the Monongahela National Forest and Mon Forest Town’s initiative. Understanding the importance of lodging and food for visitors, the Kaposy’s eagerly jumped into the renovation of the Hermitage Inn. Jason and Carla took full advantage of resources available to them including business coaching through Woodlands Development and Lending. Business Advisor, Marti Neustadt was able to provide connections, knowledge about the hospitality industry and guidance to the Kaposys. Ray Moeller with Brownfields Northern Assistance Center at WVU also got involved with this project early. They were able to support the project with environmental assessments and connections to utilize historic tax credits.

“The Hermitage Inn project in Petersburg not only transformed a prominent historic property into a remarkable visitor venue, it brought forward another valuable economic asset in a community on the rise,” Moeller said. “It was a pleasure to play a small but vital role in the success of this effort.” 

The Hermitage Inn redevelopment progress continued through the end of 2021 and into early 2022 during a turbulent time in the construction industry. The Hub’s DARRE program was able to bring some additional resources and support to the project in 2022. Funded through an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) POWER Award in 2021, the program brings together community development partners focused on connecting a network of service providers to integrate strategies like developing downtown buildings; engaging and supporting local entrepreneurs; and creating long-term plans for revitalization. 

Through this program, Jason and Carla were able to receive some additional technical assistance to provide business and financial planning support, property assessments and historic building and tax credit guidance.

”We are so grateful for the support that we received from our community partners. We were new to the historic renovation and tax credit process which created additional challenges. Thankfully these partners were able to provide us with resources to help us be successful.” Carla said.

This support came at a crucial time in the project and helped propel the Kaposys and the Hermitage Inn toward the finish line.

The DARRE program will continue to provide technical assistance support to eight communities in the Mon Forest through 2025.

“This was our first project with DARRE, and a very exciting one” Stacy Thomas, DARRE Program Coordinator, stated. “Jason and Carla saw the opportunity in Petersburg, we were able to provide them with some resources to move the project forward and continue to build the recreational economy in Petersburg. I hope other communities will look at the success here and take advantage of the services provided through Woodlands, WV Brownfields and The Hub.”

For more information about the services available through DARRE, contact Stacy Thomas at s.thomas@wvhub.org

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Parsons

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

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.

The services that anchor organizations like The Hub provide are even more critical in this time, and we expect our work to scale significantly in the coming years ahead.

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,

– WV Community Development Hub
Executive Leadership Team

Stephanie Tyree

Executive Director

Amanda Workman Scott

Director of Community Engagement

Emma Pepper

Director of Strategic Network Communications

Katie Loudin

Director of Strategic Development

Montgomery

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

Smithers

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

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

Meadow River Valley Region

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

Monticello Neighborhood of Clarksburg

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

New Martinsville

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

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.

In addition, through our strategic policy support role within the Abandoned Properties Coalition, The Hub successfully advanced two key objectives: the creation of a statewide land bank at the West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation and extension of the state’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit. 

Through the Opportunity Appalachia program, 6 catalytic community projects located in WV-based Opportunity Zones received $250,000 for pre-development technical assistance. Three projects received additional private funding as a result of program participation.

Community Coaching

In 2021, we accompanied 16 communities through our in-depth, professional coaching programs. In addition to leaning into coaching and financing opportunities offered through these programs, participating communities leveraged an additional $2.8 million in funding on their own for community economic development projects. While participating in our entry-level coaching program, Cultivate WV, Montgomery and Smithers realized momentum-building success through access to $40,000 in seed funding for projects like farmers markets, public art, wayfinding, community events, and development of a trail system.

Six communities, Lewis County, Kingwood, Meadow River Valley, Monticello neighborhood in Clarksburg, New Martinsville and Parsons, graduated the intermediate planning program Blueprint Communities* with strategic plans in place. We also launched a new round of HubCAP, our flagship community economic development program, in six towns located in the Monongahela National Forest region: Cowen, Franklin, White Sulphur Springs, Elkins, Marlinton, and Petersburg.

Elkins

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. 

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.

Franklin

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Marlinton

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Petersburg

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

White Sulphur Springs

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies.

Charleston

A core team led by Crawford Holdings, LLC participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

Huntington

Core teams led by Thundercloud, Inc. and the City of Huntington participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support community development projects located in Opportunity Zones.

Grafton

A core team led by Unleash Tygart, Inc participated in Opportunity Appalachia, receiving technical assistance to support a community development project located in an Opportunity Zone.

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.

Cowen

Residents participated in round 4 of The Hub’s capstone Communities of Achievement program with a focus on building local recreational economies. Read their community case study.