Wheeling, WV (WTRF)-The Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce is taking steps to tackle the challenges our economy is facing.
They call it an “Action Plan for Economic Development”.
“It’s a conversation that needs to happen.”Erikka Storch, Wheeling Chamber President
And after 18 months worth of work, a team puts their plan to redefine the Wheeling area into action.
“It’s very important for us to grow as a region.”Erikka Storch, Wheeling Chamber President
But a study, conducted by researchers at West Virginia University, has found this region to do the opposite. Ohio County is losing population faster than other parts of the state.
“I believe we’re educating our kids and they’re leaving to find other opportunities. That’s unfortunate, and that explains a lot.”Erikka Storch, Wheeling Chamber President
Not just Ohio County, but this plan also details opportunities for growth in other parts of the area, like Wetzel, Marshall, Brooke, Hancock, Belmont, and Monroe counties.
“We don’t just want Wheeling and Ohio County to be successful.”Erikka Storch, Wheeling Chamber President
But that also comes with a team effort, which Wheeling area chamber of commerce officials say they’re still working to get everyone all in.
“If we get people to participate and everyone lifts a little, it won’t be a huge lift. But we have to have the buy in of all the communities and not just Wheeling and Ohio County. We need everyone to work together. I think we can be very successful. We’ve seen several communities turn around.”Erikka Storch, Wheeling Chamber President
The eventual action steps would be to create small stakeholder groups within similar industries, municipalities, education, and county governments – and build the economy up from there.
Until then, the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce will continue reaching out to our extended communities to get more involved in this plan.