TAYLOR COUNTY—As a way to continue building communications between Taylor County and Washington D.C., Congressman David McKinley made a stop in Grafton last week, to meet with officials to discuss the future of the community.
The Congressman frequently visits the area to meet with constituents to learn of areas of concern. Whether it’s holding a health roundtable or meeting with local business owners, McKinley says he feels it’s his responsibility to make sure that all areas of concern are addressed.
“I think these meetings are an essential way to address issues the area is facing,” shared McKinley. “I often hold meetings like these in areas throughout the state, meeting with focus groups, so that I can hear first-hand the issues community members are seeing in their communities.”
He said that he would much rather have small meetings, instead of town halls, because he can talk with individuals one-on-one.
“Town halls are okay, but you get 100 people in a room, and I can’t make eye contact with everyone in the room and fully understand what is on their mind,” McKinley voiced. “So, what we try to do is have these small meetings with six or eight people and get down to the weeds on issues.”
Recently McKinley met with Grafton City Manager Kevin Stead and Taylor County Development Authority, Inc Executive Director Patricia Henderson to discuss some of the issues in the community, as well as the progress that has been done to help revitalize the community thus far.
During their time together, Stead talked about some infrastructure projects that were in the works for Grafton, while Henderson touched on the potential the Taylor County houses as far as existing and future businesses are concerned.
The Congressman, as well as his Field Representative Wendy Madden, addressed funding and sources of funding that could be available for certain areas of development for the community.
One of the areas of concern that McKinley asked about was the former B&O Station, voicing that he would like to see the space utilized in a way that would be beneficial to the community and help draw in tourists to the area.
He shared that he and Madden would begin to work to get in touch with the owners of the property to see if they could get some ideas going to see the building brought back to life, instead of sitting empty.
The historic Willard Hotel was also a topic of discussion, and the idea of converting it into downtown housing was talked about briefly.
Another topic of discussion was centered around roadways and who was responsible for upkeep when the thoroughfares were located outside of city limits, but not on state owned property.
Stead offered a section of Railroad Street that used to connect the Fetterman Park area with Route 310. He told the Congressman that the section of road was essentially ignored and not kept up, because officials simply didn’t know who was responsible.
The portion of the roadway contained a bridge that was no longer passable, and therefore the road was taken out of commission.
McKinley affirmed that he would get Stead in touch with the appropriate individuals that could help determine a plan of attack. He further told of a program where railroad cars were utilized and converted into bridges, and that it could be a solution to get the roadway opened once more.
Throughout the meeting, Madden took notes that would be taken back to Washington with them, so that changes may be enacted that would make for a better and brighter future for Taylor County.