WHEELING, W. Va. (WTRF) – Mayor Glenn Elliott says Wheeling is the fifth city in the nation in terms of per capita income growth since 2016.
He said the city’s biggest need is to keep young people from leaving town for greener pastures.
Mayor Elliott said the opportunities are here, but the perception is lacking.
He then asked people in the audience to look at where their children and grandchildren went. He said chances are, they chose a vibrant inclusive city with loft apartments, parks and recreation.
He also said cities that don’t focus on quality of life are left behind.
The mayor honored and complimented individuals, businesses and projects like Grow Ohio Valley’s public market.
“It turns out that people of all ages appreciate locally grown and healthy foods,” he noted.
The mayor aggressively defended the plans for the public safety building at 19th and Jacob Streets, saying it will not endanger the health of police and firefighters.
“Nobody on this council would ever consider putting our public safety forces at risk at a contaminated site that had not been fully abated,” Mayor Elliott said. “To the contrary, it is the deplorable conditions of our existing first responders’ facilities that has driven this initiative from the get-go.”
He said the proposal to build a parking garage where Chase Bank and Chris Miller Furniture now stand vacant could save the fate of the Wheeling Pitt building.
Mayor Elliott said it would generate revenue and would be the largest investment in the history of downtown.
“It would be roughly the same size as the Health Plan facility and the Boury Lofts combined,” he noted.
He said the streetscape price has gone from $7 to $25 million because of construction complications, not the fault of the city.
He hinted the state is about to say yes in March to the streetscape funding they’ve turned down in the past.
“When this project is completed — and it will be completed — it will be the most significant facelift for downtown since 1980,” he said.
He said people’s opinions of Wheeling range from “the sky is falling” to “the sky is the limit.” He said the jobs are here.
Now we have to convince the young professionals to stay to fill them.