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Renovation plan is welcome news

Efforts to revitalize a portion of Clarksburg received a big boost when a non-profit organization announced a proposal for a $50,000 project to include West Pike Street, Glen Elk and the railroad depot on Baltimore Ave.

The Vandalia Foundation, which was created to promote economic and community development through existing historical structures, is planning a three-stage proposal in response to requests from the West Virginia Housing Development Fund. The foundation is receiving technical assistance from the Charleston real estate firm of McCabe-Henley-Durbin.

According to Richard Wood, director of economic development for the real estate firm, the first element is an integrated design plan, the second is a market analysis to determine the potential for elderly housing and urban housing, and the third is making a strategic action plan with identifiable goals.

How to utilize the Waldo is one big question the foundation has to answer. Office space might not be a viable option, Wood said, because he noted that downtown Clarksburg already had plenty of available office space.

However, the Waldo could be the linchpin upon which to begin renovations. Wood called the Waldo "a diamond in the rough" and said it had a lot of potential to become an urban showcase.

We say any plan that attempts to revamp old buildings and improve deteriorating neighborhoods is welcome. Clarksburg is an aging industrial town that sorely needs a shot in the arm.

This plan by the Vandalia Foundation could be the beginning salvo in a concerted effort to remove urban blight from the landscape. We hope the foundation succeeds in its efforts to revive these neighborhoods. Perhaps this economic stimulus is just what the city needs as it moves into the 21st century.

Today's editorial is a reflection of the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Matt Harvey, Nora Edinger and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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