By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Six years ago Clarksburg Uptown began as a group of business and property owners and interested citizens committed to working as a team to enhance the business climate in the City of Clarksburg. Their mission is to promote the economic and social potential and growth of downtown Clarksburg and the Glen Elk section of Clarksburg.
Today, they are 33 members strong with 11 of those members serving on the Clarksburg Uptown Board. The organization meets each month to discuss ways they can help the City revitalize the uptown area and work toward those goals.
Recently, at its annual meeting held in May at The Bluebird in uptown Clarksburg, retiring 2016 President Steve Haning summarized some of the organization’s projects and accomplishments over the past year, which included the following:
- Partnering with the City to paint utility poles from Joyce Street to Monticello Avenue
- Partnering with the City to purchase flower baskets for the Main Street and Pike Street utility poles
- Partnering with the City to add additional lighting to Main Street
- Erecting signs designating Clarksburg’s Central Business District
- Increasing their façade grant to $1,000
- Contributing to two charity golf tournaments – the Dylan Jeffries Scholarship Tournament and the West Virginia Chief of Police Tournament
Perhaps the organization’s most aggressive and noticeable project is being a part of the renovation of the Second Street island, an obvious improvement when entering Clarksburg from Route 50 from under the parking garage.
Board member Mike Lambiotte, in charge of operations and communications for the organization, noted, “This was an idea we presented to the City three years ago; it was a project that would be done in three stages. It was delayed as other issues were more of a priority. We were delighted to see this revived and come to fruition. A $10,000 project, Clarksburg Uptown contributed $5,000 with the City funding the remainder. It is scheduled for completion in June of this year.”
Haning also outlined potential projects for the organization to consider for the upcoming year such as: seeking a member business to serve as an example for Clarksburg Uptown’s façade grant; working closely with the City to upgrade beautification ordinances; looking into the revival of Clarksburg’s New Year’s Eve celebration; and the potential to form an Arts Council in Clarksburg.
Lambiotte explained, “The façade improvement grant that we offer is to improve the cosmetic appearance of a downtown storefront that does not involve any structural changes. We will discuss further at a later date the possibility of bringing back the New Year’s Eve celebration perhaps on a smaller scale. And regarding the Arts Council, we see other communities in the area having success with an Arts Council – cities such as Weston, Elkins, Buckhannon, Fairmont and Bridgeport. We would like to be involved with actively starting something similar for Clarksburg – not just for musical talent but visual and performing arts as well. Our vision is to help see our City move forward into the future, and however we can help to make that happen, we are committed to doing that.”
During the May meeting, Uptown Clarksburg also recognized Larry Policano of the Clarksburg Beauty Academy as “Business Member of the Year” for his devotion to working tirelessly with member and non-member businesses to improve their facades.
The Board also decided to expand the number of board members from ten to eleven to increase efficiency. Elected to this newly created position was Marla Swentzel of WesBanco.
Board members elected to serve as officers for 2017 were: Daniel Rogers, President; James Swiger, Vice President; Trey Hornor, Secretary; Marla Swentzel, Treasurer; and Mike Lambiotte, Operations & Communication.
If you would like to become involved in investing in the growth of the City of Clarksburg by becoming a member, contact them by sending a message through the organization’s website at www.clarksburguptown.com.