Residents of Davis met with officials from the Woodlands Development Group Monday evening to discuss development of the Highland Inn property.
The property, a collection of three buildings, consists of a former gas station, restaurant and hotel on a lot located across from the Shop 'n Save store in Davis. Monday's meeting was the first of severalwhere residents can offer input on how they would like to see the property developed.
Anne Jones, executive director of the Tucker County Development Authority, and Dave Clark, director of Woodlands, both spoke to the Inter-Mountain about what took place during the meeting.
"There were long-time residents and people who had only been living there a few months," Jones said. "(The meeting) had a nice representation of people."
She said residents' concerns about development of the property were directed toward creating a physically welcoming space for those going through town.
Jones said residents had ideas such as creating an information bureau, library, historical museum and community kitchen. She said it was also suggested that the space could be used for multiple small businesses.
Residents also debated whether or not to tear down or revitalize the existing structures.
In the end, she said, no definitive plans were made, but many worthwhile ideas were brought to light.
Clark spoke about the role of Woodlands in the development process.
"We have a downtown development initiative in Elkins, Belington and Davis, among other places," Clark said about Woodlands. "We are trying to facilitate development (of the Highland property)."
He largely echoed the sentiments of Jones when he listed the concerns of Davis residents.
First, he said, it's clear that residents have an interest in creating access to the riverfront park that is adjacent to the property.
Clark also said that residents want the property to be compatable with the local economy and want any structure built there to provide a public service. How these goals will be achieved, he said, is not yet clear.
He said the owner of the property passed away several years ago and that it will be up for auction in the near future.
After it is purchased, he said, development of the property will take place and residents' input will be considered.
Clark said he did not know who would be bidding on the property and that no timetable has been announced for when the property will go to bid.
Contact Casey Houser by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.