If Marlinton’s Main Street could talk, it would be saying, “where is the contractor who made this mess nearly four months ago and left town?”
Answer: The DOH District Office in Elkins said they should be back to finish in about two weeks. That is another story, but it got me thinking.
The Main Street of any town speaks of its present economic state to everyone who passes by. The passerby may not be listening, but you can bet Main Street is speaking. The years following the ’85 flood spoke of setback in Marlinton. The years following the ’96 flood seemed to say, “let’s wait and see what happens now”? While waiting, businesses closed and buildings fell into disrepair. Main Street was crying out for help for fear of looking totally abandoned. Flooding had basically shut down any growth in Marlinton – and Main Street said it all.
On the other hand, have you been through Main Street in White Sulphur Springs lately?
Yes – some would say, they have the Greenbrier Hotel, a railroad, an interstate and an airport. But they had all that before the flood and Main Street didn’t look so good. Ironically, the devastating flooding of 2016 opened the hearts of generous millionaires who initiated the considerable out-of- town investments taking place there. Without a doubt, the generosity of those individuals catapulted WSS forward, and Main Street is speaking loudly. Admittedly, having out-of-town millionaires investing on opposing sides of the street has sped up things considerably. Their individual, private investments have revitalized WSS and Main Street is telling all who will listen – “Success breeds Success.”
Any Mayor wants to see their town grow and prosper. Most small towns seldom see the type of investment like the city of WSS is experiencing. But Marlinton is seeing success, too. Private investment is making a significant difference here. Enough people have stepped forward to encourage others to do the same. Presently, I see one side of Marlinton’s Main Street saying, “I am on the mend and getting better.” The other side is saying do not count me out “I am prepared for the next step and ready to add to the success of Main Street.”
Let there be no doubt. Revitalization is always a challenge and especially in a floodplain. But current and planned investment will contribute to a thriving Main Street and sustain the downtown area. The malls have their day. I see people wanting to investigate small towns. We just need a little more success to keep the Revitalization Ball rolling. More of the right people need to take a second look at Marlinton and listen to what our Main Street is saying.