West Virginia Universitys Community Design Team is headed to the eastern panhandle community of Bath Nov. 9-11 to look at ways the town might improve transportation.
Located near Berkley Springs in Morgan County, Bath received a $200,000 grant from the West Virginia Department of Transportation. The CDT will be exploring options on how the money can be spent.
They (CDT) will be focusing on transportation, which can include anything from roads to pedestrian safety,said Dr. Peter Schaeffer, CDT director.
The team will leave for Bath Thursday and stay with a host family through the weekend. This helps members of the community develop a level of trust with members of the CDT .
On Friday, the CDT will go out into the community and talk to different groups and organizations to learn their needs.
After learning the needs of the community, the CDT will compile a list of ideas and provide the community with a presentation before its departure.
After the team leaves, it will follow up with a written report four to six weeks later and go back to the community for a post-visit six months afterward.
In order for a community to be chosen, it must go through an intense application process.
If a communitys application is chosen, community leaders are asked to sit down with members of the CDT to review the application and make sure that everybody in the community wants the same thing.
We dont want to go into a community where everyone cant agree on what they need,said Meghan Stalebrink, CDT coordinator.
After a community is chosen, the CDT visits to speak with different groups and organizations and take a tour of the community, so they are able to see what they need to prepare for.
We bring expert eyes to the community,Stalebrink said.We can give them a fresh perspective since we dont live there everyday.
The CDT is comprised of a wide area of professionals, ranging from interior design to marketing.
Seventy-five percent of the CDT is composed of professionals and the rest are students.
Ronald Eck, a WVU civil engineering professor who has conducted a number of transportation studies, will lead the CDT when it travels to Bath.
The CDT is trying to expand and get professionals outside of the university interested in helping out as well, Stalebrink said.
The program is really unique,she said.WVU puts focus on the project being equitable. We want to gain a relationship with the community and make sure were doing work for a good purpose.
All of the people who participate on the CDT are volunteers.
We work with a great group of people, and hope to get more people involved in the near future,Schaeffer said.
The team is completing its 10th year in action.
The idea was developed in 1997 by Scott Loveridge, friend and co-worker of Schaeffer.
Loveridge heard of the idea when he used to work in Minnesota. He proposed a grant to get the ball rolling, and the rest just fell into place.