FINALIST SPOTLIGHT: Huntington, West Virginia

Huntington is on the move! Just one week after being named a finalist in Frontier’s America’s Best Communities Competition, our Congressman, Evan Jenkins, and our ABC Executive Work Group met to discuss next steps and the federal funding needed to implement our plan.

So many new opportunities have emerged that were not anticipated in our 11-month plan. Huntington applied for the Community WINS Grant, offered by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo by nominating The WestEdge Factory Solar Training Institute, one of our ABC projects. Huntington was one of three communities nationwide to win the $150,000 grant which will put this Institute into action training dislocated workers in solar-roof installation.

Huntington participated in the USDOT’s Every Place Counts Design Challenge to address the safety of Hal Greer Boulevard which divides the distressed Fairfield neighborhood, leaving its residents with limited mobility and separating them from essential services. Although not a winner, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx felt the application was compelling enough to help with the road’s issues and has the WV Federal Highway Administration Chief Edward Stephen assembling a team to help.

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Our citizens have come together with a new energy and are fueling our momentum in this competition. In response to this outpouring of support and offers to help, the City developed a formal plan with various volunteer opportunities. There is now an ABC Social Media team with more than 80 citizens sharing positive social media posts using the hashtag #ABC8. There is an ABC Ambassador Team with 17 members who volunteered to become well versed in our Revitalization Plan so that they could speak at public forums about it. Huntington restaurants will host an #ABC8 Restaurant Night once a month with a percentage of funds donated to the revitalization plan. We will also unveil a community-wide #ABC8 Social Media Challenge this fall to raise awareness of the ABC Competition.

While we remain flexible with our plan, so far we have not had to rework or adapt it in any way and there are no roadblocks so far on our horizon!