WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – For many months, the biggest story in many cities across the Ohio Valley has been the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the City of Wheeling is turning its focus to rebuilding.
That was Mayor Glenn Elliott’s message at his annual State of the City Address on Tuesday at Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack.
There are many projects underway that he says will transform the city and a lot of them wouldn’t happen without several people who the Mayor honored for their efforts in making sure the communities around us thrive.
Any way you look at it, Wheeling is- right now- a city being rebuilt before our very eyes.Mayor Glenn Elliott, City of Wheeling
The COVID-19 pandemic was tough on the city; in personal loss and in economic impact, and Mayor Elliott recognized that to begin his State of the City address.
In a community like Wheeling there’s probably no more than three degrees of separation between any of us, and so when a global pandemic began to strike a few of us, all of us inevitably felt it. I’m willing to wager that everyone here knew someone from this community who succumbed to this deadly virus.Mayor Glenn Elliott, City of Wheeling
How do we move forward?
In Wheeling, it seems that’s through physical improvements; like highway repairs, streetscape and construction projects.
Mayor Elliott there is major investment all over the city. He cited the transformation of the former OVMC campus into a new headquarters for the Wheeling Police Department, the much-anticipated location for the Wheeling Fire Department on 17th Street in East Wheeling and a major parking structure that will be beuilt on 11th and Market Streets.
Combined these public projects represent a combined investment of roughly $400 million into the greater Wheeling community. I challenge anyone to find any comparable period of critical public investments made locally in the last 100 years, but what gives me an even greater hope for the future of the City is both the actual and imminent private investment taking place right before our eyes.Mayor Glenn Elliott, City of Wheeling
Leading the way on many of these projects is the city’s Municipal Building Commission, which includes the city’s 2021 Gateway Award recipient Mike Nau.
The most important thing to me was that I got to do something for 36 years that I love doing and many people don’t get a career like I’ve had. I’ve met so many wonderful people.Mike Nau, 2021 Gateway Award Recipient
Nau was just one of several recipients to be honored at this year’s State of the City Address. Those recognized include:
- Howard Gamble – Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department Administrator
- Lou Vargo – Ohio County EMA Director
- Reverend and Dr. Michael Linger and the House of the Carpenter
- Jeff Mauck – Wheeling Planning Commission
- Ellen Gano – 2021 Community Spirit Award Recipient – Founder of Volunteer Wheeling
- Men of Change and Joe Sparksman
- Ray Carney
- Doug Costain
- Susie Nelson
Going back to infrastructure, Mayor Elliott said some projects are delayed due to the pandemic, but private investments of the Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Building are moving forward. He also announced the historic McLure Hotel was purchased by Roxby Development for a major rehabilitation project.
He also detailed other smaller upgrades you’ll notice that are changing some of the city’s historic buildings. They include the renovations to the Bridge Tavern, the façade restoration at the historic Fort Henry Club and the masonry work on the First Presbyterian Church on Chapline Street.
The landmark Suspension Bridge will also be rehabbed soon. Mayor Elliott said the WVDOH has the project out for bid until August.
Whether the bridge will re-open to traffic remains an open question about which there will be many conversations in the months and years ahead.Mayor Glenn Elliott, City of Wheeling
With many of these improvements well underway, the city has even more plans in the early stages. Mayor Elliott gave early hints at plans for the User Fee funds, planning to take better advantage of the city’s waterfront and making the city a top entertainment destination by possibly establishing an Entertainment Endowment Fund.
Going forward, you can expect to see some more visible projects taking shape. Stay tuned.Mayor Glenn Elliott, City of Wheeling