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Redefining Hometown

It sounds like a good idea. There are some young up-and-comers who are working to “re-invent” Wheeling. While I didn’t know the Friendly City had lost its identity, I have noticed that it needs a little help around the edges.

Already in place are the natural and man-made wonders of the city – the Suspension Bridge, the Centre Market houses, the stately Victorian homes and the historically rich National Road. Then you throw in the beautiful churches that have been sustained through the faithful of each congregation and add a dose of awe at the grand, old West Virginia Independence Hall and you have a recipe for cooking up a special story about where Wheeling sits in the history books.

If you live in the Ohio Valley, you don’t have to be told about the attraction of Wheeling’s city parks. Whether it’s Oglebay, Wheeling Park or the smaller venues that dot the neighborhoods, the city has places to enjoy a picnic or romp with the kids or walk the dog.

I don’t know many places where you can enjoy the real thrill of ice skating each winter at an outdoor rink. Skating at Wheeling Park is an experience every kid should try once. It tests your endurance for winter’s chill while making your legs and lungs strong.

When the weather is right, Wheeling offers some amazing trails for biking or walking. The splendor of autumn is worth lacing up the sneakers and heading down one of these paths. Just be sure to be mindful of the bike riders and vice versa.

Making Wheeling appealing as a retirement city had already happened. Have you noticed the number of housing units being built for retiring baby boomers? And if you have never toured Elmhurst, the House of Friendship, you are missing out on an enchanting place to live as the hair turns gray. I used to go there Christmas caroling with some kids from school and I would marvel at how it looked like a picture on a postcard.

I, like others who have enjoyed growing up here and raising a family in and around Wheeling, am waiting to see the next chapter in its storied existence. What will this new, young thinking bring to the table?

Assuredly they have their challenges before them. They must compete with those of us whose memories were made in a very different Wheeling. There are a lot of “negative Nellies” out there who poo-poo any mention of change, whose closed minds have led to the decay of various neighborhoods.

My question to those seeking Wheeling’s new nickname is how are you going to get the younger generation to look up from their cellphones, iPads and other devices long enough to notice what you are doing?

I encourage you not to forget the past, embrace today and hope for the future. Make lemonade when only lemons drop into your shopping basket. Don’t be dismayed when a door closes on one idea. Keep opening those doors and bring us your definition of a great place to live because we already know it is.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at hziegler@theintelli-gencer.net.

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