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Huntington moving forward with revitalization plans, America's Best Community prize money

It’s finally setting in that Huntington’s revitalization plans won the judges over in the America’s Best Community contest. (WCHS/WVAH)

It’s finally setting in that Huntington’s revitalization plans won the judges over in the America’s Best Community contest.

The community welcomed city officials home Thursday afternoon as they stepped off a plane at Tri-State Airport.

The Huntington Innovation Project is often called ‘hip’ and it focuses on bringing jobs and resources to three main areas of the city, the Fairfield neighborhood, the Highlawn area and the West End of Huntington.

After years of planning and presenting these plans on paper, community leaders in the River City are ready to put it into action.

Make no little plans. The phrase can be seen in windows all over the West End of Huntington. It’s a phrase Huntington Mayor Steve Williams used to brand their plans to revitalize the city.

Chasten Toler is the market manager of the Wild Ramp. Some call it the center of the West End.

“People have these negative connotations about Huntington. Really it's the people here. There are a lot of things we can do together if we work hard. This just shows us we can,” Toler said.

The Huntington Innovation Project will focus further on the River to Rail Revitalization Project, which is already underway.

Funds will help the West Edge Factory train more workers for local jobs such as solar energy, furniture making and construction.

In Huntington’s Highlawn section, funds will be put towards brownfield properties that are sitting vacant. The hope is to place things like retail stores and recreation parks in its place.

“I’m lucky enough to be born and raised here but I’m also fortunate to have lived in other parts of the country in costal South Carolina and New York City. After being those places I can truly say there is no place like home,” Huntington City Councilwoman Jennifer Wheeler said.

The Fairfield area will also receive funds to demolish vacant buildings, improve traffic patterns and boost the healthcare jobs that thrive along Hal Greer Boulevard.

To tie those areas together, funds will also be given to improve high speed broadband in the city.

This is just the beginning of those detailed plans. You can access the full layout, which is 45 pages long, explaining how the money will be distributed on the city’s website.

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