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Linking City, Businesses

Wheeling officials’ decision to reactivate a link between municipal government and the business community could not have come at a better time.

COVID-19 has forced us all to look not just for growth opportunities but also for ways to help struggling businesses recover from the virus’ economic side-effects.

Earlier this year, Wheeling City Council members agreed to establish a new Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Economic and Industrial Development. Though the panel was authorized by city charter nearly 30 years ago, it has not been active for many years.

Last week, council approved seven appointees to the commission, who will work with four municipal government representatives. As we reported, the appointees represent various businesses and economic development entities.

It is expected the commission will meet quarterly — but it may be that more frequent gatherings would be productive, at least early next year. Again, the challenges are many, in large measure because of the coronavirus epidemic.

It is no secret that some in Wheeling’s business community have disagreed with municipal government initiatives in the past. Mayor Glenn Elliott and council members are prudent to attempt, as he termed it, to “engender more collaboration between the city’s elected leaders and the local business community.”

Such advisory groups need to be more than window-dressing. We urge all involved in this one to make the commission an active partner with city government in restoring and growing Wheeling’s economy.

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