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Group works to improve Mountain State cities

Updated: Wednesday, April 16 2014, 05:39 PM EDT

WHEELING, W.Va.--

Busy streets and a vibrant downtown is a vision of some neighbors in the city of Wheeling and many across the Mountain State.

People working to improve 28 communities across West Virginia are meeting this week at Wheeling's Artisan Center.

West Virginia Main Street and ON TRAC are the programs meeting. Volunteers in the groups say they would like to make the downtown areas more attractive and bring business.

Glenn Elliott is part of Downtown Wheeling Inc. He says it's about changing people's perceptions.

"You talk to folks and their perception is it's in a state of decline and that's something we have to change," said Elliott.

Elliott knows firsthand the struggles of changing the minds of many-- concerning downtown Wheeling.

In 2013 he purchased The Professional Building in downtown Wheeling and since then he has worked hard to restore it and get others on board.

Elliott says he has the first floor, remodeled and rented.

"We're trying to really think of ways outside the box to really revitalize downtown," said Elliott.

Elliott has been meeting with others in the groups this week to exchange ideas and listen to experts in business development.

Monica Miller, with the West Virginia Development Office, says volunteerism for the groups is a challenge.

"These are volunteer-based organizations and people don't have the time to volunteer," said Miller.
"The folks that do get involved are very dedicated and that's one of the great things we see about West Virginia."

Miller says West Virginia's Development Office offers financial and technical assistance to the organizations.

Miller says the conference is about helping West Virginia be a better place to live, work and play.

"Ultimately the goal is to rehab vacant structures, put unused properties into higher productive use and to and get money circulating in the communities as a result," said Miller.

Group works to improve Mountain State cities


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