Strategic plan for Clarksburg is long overdue

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The city of Clarksburg has seen good times and bad times. During the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s, the city was a booming commercial center with a bustling downtown district. It was known for glass manufacturing, and Harrison County was the centerpiece of the first “gas boom” in West Virginia.

The city of Clarksburg was known as the “Jewel of the Hills.”

Clarksburg had a thriving economy, and the city’s primary responsibility was providing police, fire, water and sewer services. Life was simple.

However, along came the mid-’70s. Plastics rapidly replaced glass in most every commercial use, and what glass was needed was outsourced to cheaper labor at other plants in the U.S. and overseas. The foundation of North Central West Virginia’s economy began to crumble.

Thankfully, local leaders worked diligently with U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd to land the FBI CJIS facility and the 2,500 permanent government jobs that came with it. New life was breathed back into the city of Clarksburg.

Since that time, we have seen other emerging industries in aerospace and high-tech that have helped to strengthen and diversify our economy.

But the city of Clarksburg suffered a loss of population from its peak of about 32,000 to under 17,000 residents today. For our city to prosper once again, we must find a way to grow again.

Thus, the need for a strategic plan.

We credit Mayor Cathy Goings with recognizing the need to develop a strategic plan that addresses both short-term and long-term needs…

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