MOUNDSVILLE - Mayor Eugene Saunders and Councilmen David Wood and Phil Remke all agree that Moundsville's greatest strength lies in its people - people who are working to steer the city into the future.
"The people in this city welcome everyone," Saunders said. "No matter who you are, you're welcome in Moundsville."
"When you're walking down the street in Moundsville, everybody knows everybody," Remke said. "No one's afraid to say hello. That's what makes us so special. The people are committed to their town, too."
Photo by Daniel Dorsch
The Marx Toy Museum is one Moundsville attraction that brings tourists into the city to stimulate the economy.
"I really believe we have good, strong hard-working group of citizens loyal to Moundsville," Wood said. "They want to see it grow, improve and be the best city it can be. There's potential and the opportunity to growth here."
As the Moundsville Comprehensive Plan project continues, community leaders are taking stock of the city's strengths and weaknesses and what can be improved.
"The housing and infrastructure need improvement," Remke said. "The comprehensive plan needs to be the rebirth of the community. This whole community is going to be changing, not by a generation but by a century."
"I would love to see something move into the Fostoria area," Wood said, referring to the former Fostoria Glass Co. property at the northern end of town. "If the right company came in, it would be fantastic for both the city and the company."
Wood also said he would like to see the riverfront area developed with some sort of recreational facilities that would take advantage of the natural beauty of the area and provide young people with something fun to do.
While discussing the comprehensive plan project, Remke also lauded the efforts of Stacie Dei with the Family Resource Network, Craig White of Grand Vue Park and Suzanne Park with the Moundsville Economic Development Council.
Both Wood and Remke are pleased to see younger people moving into the community and taking a role in the comprehensive plan project.
"We're losing population," Wood said. "The number of people here is now below 10,000 people. We're hoping the oil and gas boom brings some young people back into the area and keeps them here."
Officials also agree the city's heritage is a strength.
"There is a lot of history here, starting with the penitentiary," Saunders said, referring to the former West Virginia Penitentiary that still looms over Jefferson Avenue. "We have a lot of historic places, including the Marshall County courthouse, the Grave Creek Mound and the Marx Toy Museum."
Remke also said the city has a lot of history to offer and as a Jefferson Avenue businessman, he said he is taking part in efforts to develop the downtown area as a tourist destination.
"We're looking to foster new business, and we're working with the oil and gas and coal industries. There are opportunities for spin-off businesses from those groups," Wood said. "It's unlimited as far as what Moundsville can do to better itself."