Rainelle, a town of 1,550 located in Greenbrier County, began as a lumber town and once was home to the largest hardwood mill in the world.
“Like a lot of small towns, Rainelle is facing the challenges of an aging infrastructure and a struggling business community, as well as attracting new people and retaining current community members,” said Jenny Selin, coordinator of the West Virginia University Community Design Team.
Even with those hurdles to jump, there are still plenty of areas the community can use as a foundation for redevelopment.
“Town officials have already started the process by creating a city planning commission to help address economic restructuring,” Selin said. “In an effort to boost tourism, they hope Rainelle will be the last stop on the proposed Meadow River Rail Trail connecting Greenbrier and Fayette counties.”
Several of the community’s priorities include creating parks and green spaces that give citizens the opportunity to be physically active, create educational and social venues that will attract retirees and new families for business and professional growth and create a business community to support the needs of community members.
Experts from WVU programs in landscape architecture, design and merchandising, engineering, public administration, resource management, recreation, parks and tourism resources, and other areas will be on hand April 15-17 to help address those issues.
The team will spend Fri., April 16, getting to know the needs of the community based on ideas presented by its citizens. On Sat., April 17, the CDT will develop ideas, create designs and give a presentation of their recommendations.
After the initial presentation, the team will provide the community with a written report and schedule a six-month follow-up.
The Community Design Team is a program of the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design Division of Resource Management in partnership with WVU Extension and numerous agencies and organizations.
Founded in 1997, the team has assisted 40 communities in 30 West Virginia counties, along with one in Pennsylvania. The CDT charges a nominal fee of $5,000 used to cover general team expenses and the production of the subsequent report.
CONTACT: Jenny Selin, CDT Coordinator
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