Community looks toward Next Generation


GRAFTON—Members of All Aboard Grafton and other citizens of the community met last week at Espresso Yourself Coffee House to work on a project that is being conducted between the West Virginia HUB and Generation West Virginia. 

To quote Generation West Virginia on this specific program, ”Next Generation Communities Project will build teams of community members, local elected officials and municipal staff who will work together to identify prioritized community characteristics for localized development, and determine local policy solutions, such as resolutions and ordinances, which will achieve real action on their priority objectives.”

This is the second time that the group has come together to meet with facilitators, Taylor Bennett and Kayla Wright of the West Virginia Hub.

Bennett and Wright started the evening off with key drivers that had been identified in earlier meetings such as historic preservation, arts and culture, finding a solution for dilapidated buildings, the Manos Theatre, the B&O Station, recreation, tourism and affordable housing. 

“We contracted with a group of researchers, who made a us a report about what everyone across the country is learning about this.  They found that there are three major themed areas that drive decision making when young people choose where they are going to live”, said Bennett.

She went on to say that the first driver is economic opportunity, the second is quality of place and the third is tourism. 

The attendees then placed sub categories under the major category listed on flip charts. 

After that was completed, the group was broken into teams and given a flip chart to rate the issues in order of importance. 

Everyone was given stickers to rank their top issues and finally, the facilitators slimmed it down to what could possibly be changed with the Next Generation Communities Project. 

“People don’t move to places they have never been.  So, if you want people to move to Grafton, you first have to get them to come to Grafton,” said Bennett. 

People left offering to further research by reaching out to certain county/city officials with questions the group had, before moving forward on a project.

Some of the things discussed to move forward on was to find a solution to the dilapidated and empty houses and buildings, working on getting a permanent “Makers Market” for local craftsman and artisans and ideas for other ways to market the natural scenic features that Taylor County has to offer. 

The program, which is completely free, is incredibly informative and shares information that the community can harness to improve itself through proven facts and studies. 

This program is offered and open to people that want to see positive changes in their community.  The next meeting will take place at Espresso Yourself Coffee House July 18, at 6:30 p.m. 

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