With Wheeling in the midst of revitalization, other surrounding towns in the Northern Panhandle are inspired to do the same.
With the potential for an ethane cracker plant and a new bridge across the river, Wellsburg is already planning on how they can starting rebuilding this small-town community.
A meeting was held Wednesday night with the city’s officials at the Station Grille. One of the biggest issues discussed was identifying the vacant buildings across the town. According to Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce President David Klick, they have now formed a new committee where they will focus on identifying those buildings so new potential buyers can fill them. “It’s about identifying the prospects that want to come to Wellsburg, putting the action plan together, and most of all doing it. Identifying that business, remodeling it, getting someone in there.”
One of the problems with the vacant buildings is that some are owned, but improvements were not made. So the city is going to attempt to try and convince the owners to at least sell or hand the deeds over so they can be revitalized. Sue Simonetti, the Mayor of Wellsburg, says,”The first year you owe so much money for remaining vacant. The second ear is more, it keeps building up and eventually it’ll be up to 700 or 800 dollars a year for them to have the building vacant which is an encouragement for them to get it rented out and have people in there. That’ll save them money.”
They also formed another committee where they will focus on marketing and promoting Wellsburg to other larger cities. Klick says, “We believe the value of the real estate here is very appealing, and we believe with our access to the river and our local and some of the other larger cities that we’re prime for some good things to come.”
Overall, most of the people felt the meeting was helpful and insightful, and Wellsburg seems to have a brighter future. Simonetti says, “They want to rebuild Wellsburg, and I’ve saying that for a long time, and it seems like we’re really getting some people that’s encouraging.” Kim Malinky, the owner of Station Grille, said that she is glad that officials are working to make the city better. “West Virginia’s a unique place to live, it’s a great place to raise families, and anything that more people and more families to the area benefits everybody.”
Simonetti also says that when it comes to large businesses coming into the city, there are only a couple big pieces of property that could be developed but until then, they would have to fix up what is currently dilapidated.