Clarksburg should move forward with downtown revitalization
Clarksburg City Council was presented with a $9 million
renovation plan for the downtown this week. It is our hope that council
looks very seriously at the recommendations and, even if it doesnt follow
this particular plan, it does all it can to move forward with revitalization.
This may be the downtowns last best hope.
Battered in recent years by competition from malls and shopping centers,
downtown Clarksburg, after several attempts at revitalization, remains
a big problem for the city.
The strategic plan unveiled on Monday by Hammer,
Siler, George Associates and MSES Consultants, would demolish a number
of eyesores while preserving the citys architectural heritage. It would
add green areas with benches and more lighting and it would increase the
number of parking spaces. There is even talk of a walking trail winding
its way through the downtown. In short, the recommendations would give
people a reason to come downtown.
The major stumbling block for any revitalization
effort will be money. The proposal on the table has an estimated cost of
$9 million. Council is going to have trouble finding the necessary funds
to carry out such a project. One avenue the city will pursue is an application
for a $1 million Small Cities Block Grant.
We hope this gives city officials an incentive to
get creative. It may take public/private partnerships or other state and
We also understand that it will take time. Breathing
new life into the downtown may take the best part of a decade. But we hope
council moves quickly to at least get the ball rolling.
In addition, we hope council includes the community
in any revitalization project. This is something that cannot be done in
a vacuum. Everyone will need to get involved.
It will not be an easy task, and it will take the
cooperation of city officials and the public, along with downtown property
owners. But the goal is a revitalized downtown, one that can thrive as
it once did. We feel its achievable. And it may very well be the last
good opportunity to turn things around in the citys business district.
Its up to us.
Todays editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial
board, which includes William J. Sedivy, John G. Miller, Julie R. Cryser,
James Logue, Kevin Courtney and Cecil Jarvis.