What makes tourists and other visitors return to some towns and never visit others?

West Virginia University Extension Service community development experts say the answer is in the “Power of Ten,” and they will help community leaders learn how to unleash that power in their own downtowns Sept.13-15 in Buckhannon.

Buckhannon’s Bicentennial Inn will be the Power of Ten Summit’s headquarters. But Buckhannon’s downtown will be the summit’s learning laboratory. Scouting the town, participants will turn theory into action by identifying essential Power of Ten assets—such as well-maintained public green spaces, well-preserved architecture and outdoor recreation business niches.

The summit is designed to enhance the planning skills of city and county officials, community leaders, planners and developers, Chamber of Commerce members, and Main Street personnel and volunteers.

Kelly Nix, WVU Extension assistant professor and community-based business development specialist, said that WVU faculty will help participants use their learn-by-doing experiences as a lens for identifying and enhancing diverse assets in their own communities.

Before they leave Buckhannon, participants will use aerial photographs and other tools to map their towns’ opportunities and create Power of Ten strategies based on their critical mass of diverse assets.

Critical mass is the key to a vibrant downtown.

“A vibrant downtown,” Nix said, “increases economic health and quality of life of communities.”

Nix said that anyone who is interested may attend. However, she has been urging communities to send two- or three-person teams so that local planning groups will receive the training’s maximum benefit.

The registration deadline is Sept. 1. The cost is $150 for individuals and $400 for teams.
The registration forms and the summit’s daily schedule can be downloaded via the “Revitalization” section of the WVU Extension Service website at www.ext.wvu.edu.
Power of Ten Summit brochures also are available at county offices of the WVU Extension Service.

The community development summit is one of many educational outreach projects the WVU Extension Service organizes to help strengthen and improve communities throughout the state. For more information about WVU Extension, visit www.ext.wvu.edu.


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Ann Berry, WVU Extension Communications