WV Community Development Hub

Catherine Moore

Early one morning this past January, two Clay County school busses pulled up at the state capitol complex in Charleston. Inside were members of the group “What’s Next, Clay County?”, one of twenty-five communities across the state that is organizing to strengthen their local economy as a part of the “What’s Next, WV?” initiative. 

Over seventy people attended their first community meeting last fall—not a small feat in a community of their size. They chose five areas to focus their work: youth and education; infrastructure; small business; drugs; and cleaning up trash and dilapidated properties.

wikimedia commons

The phrase “food-desert” might sound like a landscape of sagebrush and armadillos, but it's really a place where SlimJims, chicken nuggets and Slurpies count as dinner. A food desert can happen anywhere- we've all seen them. People who live in a food desert may be surrounded by food—fast food or convenient store hotdogs, instead of fresh, healthy food.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Roxy Todd takes a tour of Charleston’s West Side Flats to see the area’s community improvement efforts.  And such efforts are the focus in Fairmont as well where native Kate Greene has returned from Montana to lead business building on Main Street. Also State Impact Pennsylvania reports on the noise from natural gas compressor stations.

http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/

Union of Concerned Scientists Fellow Jeremy Richardson
Stacy Jarrell / Stacy Jarrell Photography

With coal industry jobs dwindling and many young people leaving the state to find work, speakers at the Bright Economic Future for the Mountain State Conference in Charleston outlined many of the challenges for the state’s economy. Even despite these obstacles, many entrepreneurs, policy experts and grassroots organizations who gathered at the conference said they see plenty of opportunity.