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New Wheeling Heritage Director Is Sought

Photo by Shelley Hanson Jay Frey, interim director of Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp., talks about the search for a new director for the group during Tuesday’s Wheeling Rotary Club meeting.

WHEELING — Wheeling Rotary Club members learned more about the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp. and the search for a new director on Tuesday.

Club member Jay Frey is serving as interim executive director of Wheeling Heritage until the ongoing search for a new director is completed. Former director Alex Weld left the position last month for another job.

“Next month we will likely have candidates and be in the finalist stage,” Frey said.

Frey said since he started in the position in September he’s been working in the office three days a week, reviewing and updating position descriptions. He also was tasked with collecting letters of support to help garner federal reauthorization of the group. He noted Wheeling Heritage is one of 55 heritage area corporations in the United States. All are funded via the National Park Service. The Wheeling group operates on a budget of $500,000 per year, he added.

Frey noted a new bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., calls for the groups to be reauthorized every 15 years instead of every two years currently.

The group’s main mission is the revitalization of the downtown Wheeling area. Wheeling Heritage and the city of Wheeling are seeking to find someone interested in redeveloping the historic Blue Church in East Wheeling, and a few buildings in the 1400 block of Market Street.

He noted there was a couple from Arizona making plans for the 1400 block, but apparently it did not happen because the COVID pandemic started.

A company was hired to seek and review proposals for redevelopment of the Blue Church.

Meanwhile, Wheeling Heritage’s next Show of Hands contest is set for Oct. 31 and is being done virtually via the group’s website. There are four finalists for people to choose from to win money: Midge’s Kitchen, On Deck corner store, Rising Star Dance Academy and Wheelcraft Bicycles. People pay to vote for their favorite. That money combined with an $1,000 matching donation from law firm Orrick is awarded to the winner.

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