Many business owners and movers and shakers within the city of Elkins attended the Elkins ON TRAC Downtown Dreaming luncheon Thursday to discuss strategies to promote business and commerce in the downtown area.
Delegate Bill Hartman, D-Randolph County, Elkins Mayor Van Broughton, Elkins-Randolph Chamber of Commerce members and Randolph County Development Authority representatives, as well as many others, took part in the luncheon, which was catered by Henry G's.
The audience was greeted by Karen Carper, the project manager-VISTA for Elkins ON TRAC, and Terri Cutright, executive director of Main Street Morgantown. They gave a presentation - "What Main Street Means to YOU" - and presented an overview of ON TRAC.
Mike Ellis, Chair of the Promotion Committee for Elkins ON TRAC, speaks to an interested audience at the organizations’s luncheon on Thursday. (The Inter-Mountain photo by Chad Clem)
The presentation detailed what Main Street Morgantown did to achieve its success.
Carper's presentation was followed by committee presentations and community output sessions, led by committee chairs and members to help get the community engaged in the growth of downtown Elkins.
At the end of each committee presentation, the audience was instructed to give their suggestions and tack them onto the "dream" category based on each committee's duties. This allowed the community to add their voice to the projects ON TRAC is pursuing.
Mike Ellis, chair of the Promotion Committee, said the committee was trying to make downtown a destination for residents and visitors.
The committee is focused on events and promotions to increase business activity and is heading up projects like a mobile website and code promotions for businesses, ongoing events and co-op ads and promotions.
Ellis asked the audience how they thought they could increase downtown activity and to list which promotions appeal to them.
Carol Cain Bush, chair of the Design Committee, talked about her group's work to improve the visual appeal of the town. The committee is trying to create a pedestrian-friendly and engaging downtown. Bush said the committee is busy with projects including installing benches, crosswalks, landscaping, signs and banners, holiday lighting, gateways and murals, as well as working to encourage a clean downtown streetscape.
Christy Tribble, a member of the Economic Restructuring Committee, said the group wants to build a vibrant and profitable downtown. Some of the projects the committee is working on include Building Blocks for Business seminars and the business incubator program.
Carper said she saw the event as very productive and progressive.
"Downtown is the face of the community," she said. "That is why it is so important to make sure it gives a good impression."