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City Unveils Community Revitalization Plan

Mayor Steve Williams unveiled more details about the City of Huntington's America's Best Communities​ revitalization plan during a press conference Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Huntington is one of 50 quarterfinalist communities in the nationwide competition and is vying to become one of 15 semifinalists, sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH, CoBank and The Weather Channel, offers cash prizes to help small communities implement their revitalization plans.

Williams said Huntington will become America's best community by transforming neighborhoods and blighted spaces where the old manufacturing and coal-sector economy has declined into hip hubs for advanced making, innovative manufacturing and healthy community improvements -- all connected by high-speed broadband. Huntington will spark this revitalization through key intitiatives in its three most distressed neighborhoods.

Dubbed the Huntington Innovation Project (HIP), this trio of initiatives will renew our community, create job opportunities, enhance sustainability and be a gateway of revitalization for the Tri-State and Appalachian region.

The first initiative will revitalize the Highlawn neighborhood along the Ohio River from 27th Street to Marshall University's campus. The initiative will redevelop 78 acres of vacant brownfields using a $200,000 planning grant and $400,000 assessment grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The property will be anchored by a world-class technology commercialization and advanced manufacturing hub known as the Polymer Technology Center of Huntington (Poly-TeCH). The city will also deploy green infrastructure to reduce stormwater flooding; provide new park and recreational improvements, including an expansion of the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health and a location for a baseball stadium; and provide spaces for mixed-use commercial and retail development.

The second initiative will transform the Hal Greer Boulevard gateway and Fairfield West neighborhood by replacing dilapidated public housing with vibrant redevelopment, make complete street improvements and enhance the medical sector's role as a regional center for healthcare jobs. It will also include a plan to expand the A.D. Lewis Community Center.

The third initiative, known as the West End Revitalization, will rejuvenate Central City commercial district with building facade, streetscape and green infrastructure improvements. It will also connect with the new Heartland Intermodal Gateway freight hubin Wayne County to create transportation, logistics and manufacturing opportunities in the vacant buildings and vacant lots on the West End. The initiative will also focus on expanding the local food initiative of The Wild Ramp and Central City Market to reach more low-income families and senior citizens. Lastly, the city will assist the Coalfield Development Corporation in redeveloping the old Corbin Factory into a social enterprise center known as the "WestEdge Factory." WestEdge will have the largest solar roof in West Virginia and will establish a Solar Training Institute, a fine woodworking program and other initiatives to train displaced workers.

Huntington aspires to connect these HIP revitalization hubs and the downtown with the deployment of high-speed broadband. The city will seek a public-private partnership with an investor that is prepared to harness 21st Century infrastructure for economic revitalization.

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