BECKLEY, W.Va. — The “Main Street” program will be a topic when representatives of the W.Va. Development Office discuss state and federal revitalization programs Thursday with the public and members of the Downtown Beckley Business Association.
Nikki Williams, a program coordinator for the development office, will present an overview of the national Main Street program, which her office was instrumental in establishing in Beckley in the early 1990s, according to Jim Chambers, chairman of the business association.
Beckley was one of the most successful Main Street programs in West Virginia, though the city later withdrew support, after which the downtown declined, Chambers said, adding that downtown investors would like to consider whether the program should be brought back.
“The downtown economy was bound upward when the city pulled out of the program, and the results are plain to see,” Chambers said.
“We think it’s time for the merchants and city government to consider engaging in serious development programs again, and the state and federal government are offering us help.”
The meeting is tenth that the association has hosted since being established last year to help support investment in the downtown — development programs for which have been endangered by continued inappropriate alteration of its historic district, according to the W.Va. State Historic Preservation Office.
Earlier this year the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia listed the city’s downtown among the most endangered historic resources in the Mountain State and reported that a lack of initiative on the part of city officials had led to the decline.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:15 p.m. at Tickety-Boo Mercantile at 337 Neville Street. For more information on the meeting or the association, contact Jim Chambers at 304-573 4332.
For more information on the Main Street program, please contact Nikki Williams at 304-957 2028 or at [email protected]. For more information on the alliance’s report, contact Danielle LaPresta Park at 304-345-6005 or at [email protected].