This week, I share certain information from a June 2019 Monongahela National Forest (MNF) Gateway Community Assessment: Now, with a MFTP Grants Coordinator in place at the regional level, and the Town having begun the process of bringing on a VISTA representative, by Spring 2022, it is time for Marlinton to be-gin meeting as a recreation economy team, while implementing the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. This team will engage the community in active participation. When employed, the VISTA will focus on prioritized and achievable projects during the first year.
The Greenbrier River and Trail, and the MNF itself are all assets. Each have destination strengths. Pocahontas County and Snowshoe Mountain Resort will keep bringing us traffic in years to come. Reasons for visitors to get out of the car will depend on public-private partnerships.
The biggest destination challenges are seen as a lack of restaurants, shopping opportunities and hotel accommodations. Strides have been made for better cell service options. Broadband is advancing. The art of hospitality must be improved upon. The old saying remains, “We seldom get a second chance to make a first impression.”
The additional activities suggested in the assessment that should be offered sooner rather than later are more shuttles for bikers and more things to do in Marlinton when the weather is bad.
Marlinton and the Greenbrier River may have a love-hate relationship, but needs to continue to develop. The focus must be to develop differently, and Revitalize Marlinton LLC is the type of private investment that Main Street Marlinton has been waiting. To read that a developer has recognized that Discovery Junction was a big stepping point and that “it sort of got this whole thing rolling,” was music to my ears. No doubt, Revitalize Marlinton LLC building to FEMA regulations will provide the builders with peace of mind and breathe new life into the Town of Marlinton.