West Virginia Universitys Community Design Team (CDT) will be heading to Elkhorn Creek in southern West Virginia April 18-20 to help the communities in that watershed identify common goals and formulate steps to achieve them.

The team will consist of up to 15 professional volunteers in a variety of fields who will offer their expertise in this community planning process. This visit is the first weekend of a two-part effort; the team will visit again in late May.

The visit is hosted by the Elkhorn Creek Community Design Team Host Committee, made up of representatives of a broad spectrum of community organizations. Major financial support for the visit is provided by the West Virginia University Extension Service, with additional assistance from a variety of local organizations and individuals. The CDT effort is part of a larger disaster preparedness and community development effort being administered by WVU Extension throughout the coming year.

“Community Design Team (CDT) members will include professionals such as landscape architects, tourism advisors, community health advisors, transportation engineers and community and economic development experts,”said Jeremy Morris, CDT coordinator. WVU s Division of Resource Management, a part of the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, organizes the CDT effort. The team members donate their time, while the host community provides lodging and food for the team during the visit.

“A broad range of issues will be addressed during the CDT visit, which will include watershed education, landscape design, trails and traffic issues, community revitalization, as well as health, youth and social service issues,”Morris said.”Some specific issues identified for the Elkhorn Creek visit include development of recreation opportunities, improved communication among various local organizations, stimulating economic and community capacity within the watershed, and development of a vision that will give the community a voice within larger development plans of the region.”

On Friday, April 19, the CDT visit will include an opportunity for community organizations to present their ideas and concerns to the team, tour of the watershed, and hold a public meeting for individual input into the process. Community organizations with additional issues or suggestions are urged to volunteer to be a part of the process and to attend the Friday meeting. On Saturday, April 20, the team will meet together to assess the input and formulate their recommendations; the recommendations will be presented to the public at an open community meeting during the follow-up visit on June 1.

“The success of the CDT visit will depend on broad-based community support and involvement,”Morris said. Organizations or individuals who would like to participate in the planning, hosting, and presentations for the visit, should contact Marcus Wilkes at the McDowell County Extension office, 304-436-2872.