Small Town Might Just Be At It’s Best
While many say small town America is dying with no hope for revival, some communities would beg to differ! Although there are many concerns and problems to address, one thing is certain, you can’t take away community pride.
During the past few weeks New Martinsville has been alive and kicking with activity. Everything from world class boat racing, the grand chilifest to what has to be one of the best events in the valley Boo-In-The Park. The area has been filled with activity for people of all ages. Paden City had their annual Haunted Trail which is one of the area’s favorite events. Sistersville put on Hocus Pocus in the Park.
High School sporting events highlight nearly every day of the week, while craft fairs and music events keep us well entertained. While here locally we have to travel to larger areas for some things, most everything we need or want is provided my our local merchants.
We have restaurants which draw people into town from as far as 100 miles away. New Martinsville is the largest hub of activity, but never count out our other communities. In the far end of Wetzel County the Town of Hundred provides several great events including their annual Christmas celebration, and they have two great restaurants with old fashioned homecooked meals.Pine Grove and the shortline area has some of the best outdoor fun a person could find anywhere. Sistersville is filled with things to do and is host to several parades and street fairs throughout the year.
Middlebourne is the Tyler County seat where a lot of activity occurs. Stopping at one of the two great restaurants or enjoying the scenic drive is worth your time. Paden City is home to two of the countries oldest and finest factories. Still producing marbles to be shipped around the world is perhaps the grandest marble factory ever, “Marble King.” Paden City is also home to Paul Wissmach Glass Company another one of the unique places in West Virginia. They are known for their high quality stained glass and have been in production since 1904.
These are just a few of the things that happen in our not so dead area. While our population continues to decline and we still have shops closing on a regular basis, while are roads are still in poor shape and our infrastructure continues to erode we can still find hope in that light at the end of the tunnel.
For the most part we will never be what we use to be, but we can all do our part to make what’s left a better place to live. That starts by patronizing our local merchants and restaurants. Volunteering to help in any way possible. Attending the church of your choice and investing as communities in attracking new industry and businesses. Recent surveys have shown the top five reasons small towns are dying are from Dead Downtowns, Loss of young people, Not shopping in town, Missing out on tourism opportunites and a need of new residents.
Conflicts and negativity hinder progress. Lack of cooperation, apathy, negativity and resistance to change among local leaders and residents are some of the largest challenges. However, the two single largest hinderances to small town growth continues to be lack of businesses and afordability.
When you can no longer shop in town because the only thing left is a gas station and taven it’s time to leave. When it cost more for city utilities in a small town than in larger urban areas and your streets are in disrepair it’s time to leave.
Sistersville recently announced a plan to tie in with a larger more modern water provider, it was the right move. While it may cost more now, over the long run and into the future money will be saved and they will not have to cover repair and maintenance costs. Completely renovating a system is like a giant Ponzi Scheme, where you are promised better service for more money, but later discover it wasn’t enough and still more work needs none at more cost.
Downtown at least in a few local communities is not dead, but in some they are in the grave with no hope of a ressurection.