Community collaboration project underway in Summers County - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Community collaboration project underway in Summers County

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HINTON (NEWS RELEASE) - A group comprised of representatives from several Hinton/Summers County charitable organizations, local businesses, and various agencies have come together to seek opportunities to collaborate on community projects in Hinton and throughout Summers County. The group is loosely being called the Summers Blueprint Roundtable or simply the Roundtable at this point. The foundation for this new collaborative effort began on February 4, 2013 when six localities officially became West Virginia Blueprint Communities at the 2013 Blueprint Summit at Tamarack in Beckley. These communities included Bluefield, Hinton, Marlinton, Princeton, Richwood and Sophia.

The Roundtable meetings are open to the public and anyone that is interested in helping to improve the quality of life in Hinton and Summers County is welcome to share their ideas and become part of this new community collaboration. The meeting on June 10th begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Summers County Memorial Building Auditorium in historic downtown Hinton. For more information, contact Rick Moorefield in the WVU Extension Office in the Summers Memorial Building, by email at rick.moorefield@mail.wvu.edu, or by phone at 304-466-7113.

The Blueprint Communities program was first launched in 10 West Virginia communities in 2007. FHLBank Pittsburgh invested approximately $1 million in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware between 2006 and 2009 in support of selected Blueprint Communities. During that period, this investment leveraged more than $112 million in additional community improvements. To date, reported community investments have topped $200 million. Program partners include the Brushy Fork Institute, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, DYNAMICA Consulting, FHLBank Pittsburgh, USDA Rural Development, and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development – Charleston Office. The West Virginia Community Development HUB coordinates the Blueprint Communities program in West Virginia. The HUB resulted from several years of research on and discussion about community development efforts in the state by a group of stakeholders informally tagged as the Community Development Gathering. The HUB’s mission is to provide localities with a “one-stop” source for community and economic development assistance.

Each Blueprint Community was required to assemble a team comprised of stakeholders from local service providers, religious and civic leaders, housing providers and developers, and community and economic developers. Each team was supported by a representative from the FHLBank Pittsburgh and a community performance coach to help them stay on task and achieve success. As a result of the Hinton Blueprint Community Team’s efforts, HUB leaders saw a need to bring together representatives of various groups working on different initiatives in Hinton and around the county. While the HUB leaders recognized each group’s good work, they felt that an even greater impact could be made if these groups all worked together. Thus, an initial meeting of representatives of several local organizations and businesses was facilitated by HUB representatives on May 19th when they outlined the HUB’s desire to support the Hinton/Summers County community’s community and economic development efforts. The HUB representatives also indicated that they would like to make a $3,000 mini-grant available as seed money for a project on which local community leaders could agree.

The results of the May 19th meeting were very positive and attendees left with the assignment to determine potential projects on which everyone could collaborate in regard to the mini-grant. Several ideas were discussed at the follow up meeting on the 27th and another meeting was scheduled for June 10th at which time other potential projects would be discussed and, hopefully, one chosen for submission as the focus for the $3,000 HUB mini-grant.

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