What makes people want to visit a town or community? For some individuals, it is the dining opportunities. For others, it is the selection of arts and entertainment venues. Sometimes its just the peace and quiet of a nearby lake that draws visitors. Whatever it is, it makes people want to go back time and time again.

Some call that mysterious draw thePower of Ten.And they say that power can be studied, learned and duplicated.

West Virginia University Extension faculty will talk about where and how that power is working in Fayetteville when it holds its first Power of Ten Summit in Fayetteville this fall�€from Sept. 8 through Sept. 10.

We chose Fayetteville because it is a vibrant small town and provides a wonderful illustration of our conference theme,said Alison Hanham, a WVU Extension Service community development program specialist.

According to Hanham, the number 10 in the Power of Ten,refers to the ultimate goal of creating variety and choice . . .andhelps communities�€even the smallest�€realize that they can build on their assets.

If a downtown has 10 places,Hanham explained,it begins to have a critical mass of destinations, which engage residents and tourists and give them a reason to spend more time downtown.

Volunteers, elected officials, business owners and other civic leaders are invited to attendthe summit ascommunity teams dedicated to learning hands-on skills that can create positive growth in their town centers,she said.

Faculty in WVU Extensions Community, Economic and Workforce Development unit are organizing experiential sessions that will make Fayettevilles assets classroom lessons.

What types of assets draw and hold visitors?

The Power of Ten works with attractions that showcase a communitys significance, meaning and value, Hanham said. The list includes:

  • a vibrant main street with very few, if any, vacant storefronts
  • well-preserved architecture; many historic structures downtown that provide appealing focal points (such as courthouse, movie theater, historichomes and bed-and-breakfasts)
  • well-maintained green spaces and public spaces, including parks and other areas where families and children can relax and play

    an appealing assortment of restaurants

  • outdoor recreation business niches (for rafting, climbing, hiking, biking and other outdoor enthusiasts).
  • friendly, well-informed staff and business owners.

    During the summit, participants will learn about this concept. They will see the value of the assets, how theyare connected and how they can be built upon in the future. The community teams will also spend some time developing a Power of 10 plan for their own downtown to take home with them,Hanham said.

    Hanham is encouraging each community to send a team of three members. Together, they will bring a broader perspective to the summit and leave with a more viable plan, she said.

    Along with other WVU Extension faculty, Hanham documented the needs and strengths of town centers in the research reportThe Vitality of West Virginias Downtowns.Download thereport in the Community, Economic and Workforce Development section of the WVU Extension Web site (www.ext.wvu.edu).

    Because of her work with West Virginias communities, Hanham is optimistic about the positive change local leaders can generate. To learn more about the Power of Ten Summit, contact Hanham at ACHanham@mail.wvu.edu or at (304) 293-6131, ext. 4207.

    Registration for the summit opens June 16.