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Public Meeting Scheduled On Chamber’s Master Plan

By Staff | Aug 3, 2011

The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Master Plan will be reviewed during a public meeting scheduled for Aug. 8 beginning at 7 p.m. in the New Martinsville City Council Chambers. 

In January the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce contracted Valley Ventures Inc. to complete a master economic development plan for three targeted areas in New Martinsville–the historical downtown, the Wetzel County Commerce Park, as well as the business portion of state Route 2.

The Chamber has also hired Doug Patterson, local community and economic development specialist to work side by side with Valley Ventures Inc. as the New Martinsville plan was developed in order to learn the skills necessary to duplicate this process throughout the county. In addition, both contracted developers have been working with local business owners and prospective entrepreneurs to expand or open new businesses in the county.

New Martinsville has a beautiful historic downtown which, like many cities throughout the Ohio Valley, has seen a significant business decline over the past couple decades. The downtown is a major under-utilized asset with its historical structures overlooking the beautiful Ohio River.

“In addition, the chamber owns the 40-acre commerce park located less than a mile from downtown which has seen little to no development over the past decade due to the lack of marketing and a solid development plan,” said the chamber. “These are two areas that we feel could greatly enhance the economic base in Wetzel County and are critical parts of the master plan.

Some of the sections of the Master Plan include the following.

–Specific description and maps of the downtown area covered under the plan

–An analysis of the current status of the properties, existing businesses, and housing status in the area.

–A downtown street footprint of all of the existing buildings, their ownership information (when available), their occupancy status, their square footage by floor (where available), lease or purchase financial information regarding the properties, and other relevant data regarding the properties.

–A photographic data base showing each of the buildings, occupied and unoccupied. Each structure would have an individual building analysis as to what facade and street scape improvements could be done to the individual buildings and, where possible, at what cost. In addition, the study would identify the recommended highest and best use type of tenant or tenants for each of the available buildings, including the upper floors of the facilities.

–An extensive list of new tenant prospects for all of the available buildings will be an important component of the Master Plan. These uses will include retail users, service businesses, entertainment venues, museums, cooperatives, community service providers, housing, and many other potential users which will fit well into the finished Master Plan design. This plan will show the importance of not only bringing the right type of uses to the area, but also of equal importance, where those businesses should be located. It may also be important to identify various types of businesses which may not fit into the designated development area.

–The potential new downtown prospects will be integrated with the existing businesses and the available buildings to create a downtown development plan that will endeavor to bring a new much needed vitality to the downtown which will enhance foot-traffic, employees, and more people living and working in the downtown area.

The chamber would like to invite all to attend the public meeting to hear about the plan and how it will be implemented. If you own a business and are looking to expand but need assistance with this process or if you have ever dreamed of opening your own business, the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce wants to help.

To find out more about this project contact Doug Patterson at 304-455-3825.