What graduation from the Blueprint Communities program means for the Meadow River Valley

GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – The Meadow River Valley makes up the western end of Greenbrier County and parts of Fayette and this year, it’s been part of the Blueprint Communities program, something that cities like Bluefield, Princeton and Richwood have all participated in.

Just recently, leaders of the Meadow River Valley Association, a group that promotes economic development and community, graduated from the program. 

The Meadow River Valley Association applied for the Blueprint Community program in 2018.

This is a program that comes from and is funded by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh and through its partnership with the West Virginia Community Development Hub, it has been able to expand its reach to West Virginia.

When the Meadow River Valley was selected in the Spring of 2019, the association got to work. 

“There were 14 separate events packed into a year for community celebrations,” Board Member David Lumsden said. “Now we only got two out of the way before the COVID virus hit but an extraordinarily busy year, packed year.” 

After a community becomes a blueprint, then their world is opened to opportunity.

They have the chance to attend training sessions, receive community-based coaching, mini grant funding and of course the overall goal is to produce a detailed plan for revitalization.

The Hub and the FHL Bank assists them throughout the process. 

Kaycie Stushek is the program coordinator with the Hub.

“The whole program is focused on planning and you know, getting a couple wins for momentum, but the teams have already raised over $60,000 toward the project,” she said. 

Now that they have had their graduation, it’s a 10-year certification, so what does that blueprint look like?

For the Meadow River Valley, it’s about turning the old Rupert school into a Meadow River Valley Community Center, a campus full of wellness opportunities, after school and daycare programs, recreation opportunities, and affordable housing.

Also, it’s looking at further development of the Meadow River Rail Trail connecting Rainelle to Fayette County as the Meadow River Valley Association aims to bring back an area that was devastated by the 2016 floods. 

“At the end of the day, if MRVA and its partners can go ahead and foster hope and renewal, we will have done our job,” Lumsden said. 

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.