WHEELING - In the nearly 17 years since the city last updated its comprehensive plan, many structures throughout downtown and East Wheeling have been removed to create open lots for future development.
Roughly 30 people turned out at West Virginia Northern Community College's B&O Building on Monday to help decide what downtown, East Wheeling, Warwood, Wheeling Island, Center Wheeling, South Wheeling, Elm Grove, Woodsdale and other areas of the Friendly City will look like in the future, as city officials continue working to update their comprehensive plan for the first time since 1997.
Some of the assets emphasized during the Monday meeting included the city's historical significance as the birthplace of West Virginia, as well cultural offerings such as the Capitol Theatre, Centre Market, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Oglebay Park.
Photo by Casey Junkins
Wendy Moeller, owner of Compass Point
Planning, speaks during a meeting on Wheeling’s comprehensive plan review.
"Everybody is really, really proud of the quality of life around here," said Wendy Moeller, owner of Compass Point Planning. Wheeling officials hired the firm to help craft the new plan that will develop recommendations and conceptual maps to form the basis of the new strategy.
Common themes expressed by residents who attended a pair of meetings in October included addressing a lack of affordable middle-class housing. Doing so would, they believe, help allow more young people to remain in the area.
In addition to the public meetings, residents can present their ideas online at envisionwheeling.com.
The consultants plan to present a draft plan for adoption by the Planning Commission in February or March and by City Council in May. By state law, the city has until the end of 2014 to have its plan in place.
Some of the maps on display Monday also included areas that are outside Wheeling city limits, such as Bethlehem, Benwood, Triadelphia, Clearview and areas near Oglebay Park. Organizers said this is because the new plan will also impact those in these communities.
In 2004, the West Virginia Legislature passed a law requiring municipalities to update their comprehensive plans at least once every 10 years in order to maintain control over important issues such as zoning and be eligible for various types of grant funding.
Another public meeting will be held from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 11, at West Virginia Northern Community College's B&O Building auditorium.