Next Generation talks community

GRAFTON— Taylor Bennett and Kayla Wright of the West Virginia Hub were back to talk with residents last week at Espresso Yourself Coffee House at the second meeting on the Next Generation Communities Project.

Bennett started the meeting off by announcing that Grafton is the very first Next Generation Community. 

The Next Generation Communities Project states that this project helps communities, “By bringing local citizens, public servants, and young people to the table and giving them access to research, resources, and support, the Next Generation Communities Project empowers communities to design initiatives and implement changes that work to redefine their community as places where more of the next generation can work, live, and thrive.”

Bennett then caught up new comers on topics from the first meeting such as the research that is being done across the country about what’s motivating young people to choose to work and live in a place.

This study has shown that the reasons can be broken into the three major categories of tourism, economic opportunity, and quality of place.

The Next Generation Community Project is all about building stronger communities and economies by working to make our communities the kinds of places where young people want to live, and work and play,” explained Bennett.

The group talked about many areas that they thought the project could help such as the Manos Theatre, the B&O Freight station, housing and vacant buildings.

There were goals set for the evening, to learn a little bit more about what is a policy and how local policies are made, whether the topics zeroed in on in the previous meeting truly are policy issues, and then to decide how many of those they want to concentrate on.

The meeting then turned to some exercises on learning the flow of how statutes allocate power in West Virginia, how to define if it is indeed a policy issue and how policy is used to address issues on a local level. 

The group then opened up in discussion about the three issues that had been identified as possible areas to concentrate on in the project.  The issues were abandoned and dilapidated buildings, scenic beauty and access to nature, and the B&O freight station. 

After much discussion, the attendees decided that there were additional questions that needed answering before they should make a final decision on whether to pick one, two, or all three of the issues to take on. 

If you are interested in the Next Generation Community Project, the next meeting will be on August 6, at 6:30 p.m. in Espresso Yourself Coffee House. 


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