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Mayor’s Economic Development Advisory Appointees Named

Photo by Eric Ayres – Wheeling City Council this week approved nominees from the local business community who will be part of the newly revived Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Economic and Industrial Development. In front, from left, are commission appointees Kevin Duffin, Kayleen Clough, Missy Ashmore, Craig O’Leary and Erikka Storch. In back, from left, are Wheeling City Council members Jerry Sklavounakis, Rosemary Ketchum, Ben Seidler, Mayor Glenn Elliott, Vice Mayor Chad Thalman, Ty Thorngate and Dave Palmer. Not pictured are fellow appointees Barry Allen and David H. McKinley.

WHEELING — Members of the city of Wheeling’s revived Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Economic and Industrial Development officially were appointed to their newly created posts this week.

Mayor Glenn Elliott this summer announced his intention of reassembling the advisory panel, which had not been active since the 1990s when Mayor Jack Lipphardt was in office. The commission was included as part of the city charter when it was drafted in 1991.

Members of Wheeling City Council took action this summer to re-establish the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Economic and Industrial Development, and this week, council accepted the mayor’s appointments to the panel.

Seven appointees to the commission include Erikka Storch, president of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce and member of the West Virginia House of Delegates; Craig O’Leary of the Regional Economic Development Partnership; Missy Ashmore of Kennen & Kennen Realtors; Kayleen Clough of the Fitzsimmons Foundation; Kevin Duffin of Belmont Carson Petroleum, owner of the Flatiron Building on Main Street; Barry Allen of the Ziegenfelder Co.; and David H. McKinley of McKinley-Carter Wealth Management.

The commission will consist, in total, of 11 members, including the seven representatives from the local business community, along with Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron and the three members of the Development Committee of Wheeling City Council, which currently include Elliott, Vice Mayor Chad Thalman and Councilman Ty Thorngate.

“The idea behind this commission is not original to me or this council,” Elliott said. “It is found in our city charter itself. That is to provide a mechanism to engender more collaboration between the city’s elected leaders and the local business community.

“At the end of the day, I think we all want to see the same things locally — more economic development, more housing options, a reversal of population decline — but we don’t always agree how to get there.”

Elliott said it is important to bring representatives of the local business community to the table and have conversations about how the city can make the most of opportunities to accommodate and spur economic prosperity in the city of Wheeling.

“This commission will hopefully provide those of us in city government with a vehicle to find consensus solutions before initiatives appear on a city council agenda,” Elliott said.

Many of the committee members were on hand this week when city council took action to approve their appointments. According to the mayor, an organizational meeting will likely take place before the end of the year, and the panel will likely “hit the ground running” in 2021.

The commission likely will meet on a quarterly basis and help provide guidance on many different ventures within the city, including marketing to the private sector of the former Ohio Valley Medical Center campus facilities recently acquired by the city, as well as other potential commercial and industrial sites owned by the city.

“They can tell us what we’re doing right, and what we’re doing wrong,” Elliott said. “We’re working toward shared goals, and this will help us both understand one another a little better. We want to know what we can do better on the city’s end in working with the business community to achieve many of these shared goals.”

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