Officials and concerned residents from three Fayette County communities turned out Thursday afternoon for a meeting to discuss revitalization efforts for the Upper Kanawha Valley.
Representatives from Smithers, Montgomery and Gauley Bridge listened to speakers and discussed how they can approach dilapidated buildings to bring new life to their communities by cleaning up the blight or repurposing it for new growth.
Facilitated by the Fayette County Resource Coordinator’s office, the meeting featured speakers from across the state who have experience in helping communities with their dilapidated buildings.
Speakers included Tighe Bullock from Charleston’s West Side Main Street program; Luke Elser, program manager for the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center; Katherine Garvey, director of the West Virginia University Land Use Law Clinic; Kate Greene, program manager for the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center; and Nicole Marrocco, coordinator for the Abandoned Property Coalition/WVHUB.
Gabriel Peña, Fayette County assistant resource coordinator, said the program for the three communities was part of a flex-e-grant through the West Virginia Development Office.
With the grant committees, Smithers, Montgomery and Gauley Bridge will be able to apply for resources to demolish or redevelop dilapidated structures in their communities.