This week’s Mayors Corner is robbed from portions of my Mayor’s Report to Council of September activities. 

The Mon-Forest Towns Partnership (MFTP) Grants Committee Meeting was held the first of September for the purpose of an introduction to Downstream Stra-tegies, the firm hired through a grant from the Benedum Foundation. Downstream’s goal will be to manage the many grant applications for various projects throughout the MFTP footprint. Downstream will also keep an ear to the rail for other grant opportunities, while looking for funding to continue staff beyond the beginning contract.  So many grant opportunities are in the pipeline that a full-time coordinator became the only way to keep up with the projects already in the planning stage. 

On a more local level, the concept of hiring a Vista worker will enable the Marlinton HubCAP Team to play off those certain grant opportunities that apply to Marlinton and Pocahontas County, merging certain projects that can overlap from one area to the next. An earlier Teams meeting included discussion concerning funding for implementation  of the Monday Lick trails. 

Obviously, the Bicentennial Meeting group is happy to see the years of planning begin to rollout in a year -long 200th Birthday Celebration for Pocahontas County. The Trout Project that helped fund this effort was a tremendous success. Everyone who sees the Trout Exhibits are blown away by the fantastic artistic talent that lives in our county. 

The award announcement of the $2.5 million Appalachian Regional Commission Power Grant to Pocahontas County Commission is the direct result of the volunteer efforts of the PC Broadband Commission. When coupled with another $1million of cost share, by Citynet, this is a big deal for our county. All parties are to be commended.

Finally, come to Marlinton and see our new greeting bear at the intersection of SR39 and US219. When Cindy Sandeno, Marlinton-White Sulphur US Forest Service Ranger, told me she had received money for this project, I was thrilled. The next question was “where can we get not just a log, but a big log?”

 I told her I knew where one was waiting. The First Avenue Mini-park had a huge sycamore tree that needed to come down. I was concerned about a dead top. So, the tree was taken down, a 14-foot log was retrieved and moved across the river to where it was carved and the bear now stands. 

Chasing grants is no fun until you catch one. Thanks Cindy and Cara for making the other part of the puzzle a reality. 

What else can we do?