VANCEBURG — A meeting among members of the community and the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce took place Tuesday evening to discuss ways to improve the county at large and to find methods to entice other businesses to take interest in the community.
More than 70 residents of the county gathered at the Carter Building in downtown Vanceburg to listen to the many projects that the Chamber has in progress.
“The topic tonight is all of the projects that have been going on in the community,” Chamber President John Grabill said during the meeting. “There have been a lot projects that have been initiated, we’ve got a lot of people with a lot of interest in the community.”
Grabill says he hears a lot of people in the community say the economic and recreational growth of Lewis County has been stunted, believing nothing will change. After seeing the significant turnout for the meeting however, he said it indicated there is indeed a great interest in improving the community.
The handful of projects Chamber of Commerce members discussed at the meeting were dropped for various reasons, mostly by discouraged volunteers who felt they couldn’t continue the job. The hope of the meeting was to revitalize the efforts to the projects and find more able-bodied individuals to tackle these projects, many of which have much of the groundwork laid out already.
The largest project discussed at the meeting was the creation of new trails throughout Lewis County. Joni Pugh, Chamber director gave the crowd some background information on the project.
“We started several years back working with the National Parks Service River Trails and Conservation Assistance Program on cutting trails all throughout Lewis County for both hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails,” she said. “We kind of got a little discouraged with that, because we got to a point where we had to apply for additional consultation and we didn’t get it, but we only lost by one point.”
The Rough Rider Club in Garrison, which gives horse riding lessons among other equestrian activities has a great interest in creating these trails, with many members of the club present at the meeting.
Pugh drew attention to the numerous maps and blueprints of the possible trails already created by the park service;all that’s left to acquire are those who are willing to pick the project back up.
Other projects discussed included a “paint the town” project and mural project, with paint already being supplied by Sherman Williams, construction of a boat dock or marina to utilize Lewis County riverfront and bring in watercraft passing by and the construction of the TEAM Center, which will allow the community to aquire industrial skills that will help certify the county as Work Ready.
After seeing the tremendous turnout of citizens for the meeting, Grabill said it confirmed to him the growing interest of the community to bring growth to Lewis County.
“As we had thought initially, there’s a lot of support in the community to get things done,” he said. “So we wanted to try and bring this all together and put a pool of people together that we can draw from for any and all of these projects so people don’t get that discouragement.”
Wally Browning, member of the chamber, said seeing so many people attend the meeting was really encouraging to see.
Citizens were asked to sign in for the meeting and provide contact information so they can begin participating for these projects, Grabill said. The list will be compiled, and the individuals will be asked for help on the projects.
“We already have a core of people for each of those (projects) that have already been working on that, but that gives us some power, some people-power,” he said. “Se we start to contact those people and bring them in, and they start committee meetings on these other projects. When we start pulling those people in, I think it’s going to make a huge difference.”