Huntington wins America's Best Community competition, $3 million prize

Huntington was named America’s Best Community Wednesday evening in Denver and was awarded a $3 million prize. (WCHS/WVAH)

The America’s Best Community award winners were announced Wednesday evening in Denver, and Huntington took home the $3 million grand prize.

Mayor Steve Williams made a presentation Wednesday in Denver, making a final pitch for his city.

Williams released a statement shortly after Huntington was named America's Best Community:

On behalf of all Huntingtonians who worked so hard on this endeavor, we are honored and excited to be named America’s Best Community. Our citizens should stand proud.
We have been aggressive with our aspirations. Our people believe in the direction we are taking with our community’s revitalization plan and, because of that, they have embraced our commitment to transform Huntington and the broader Appalachian region for the next 50 years.
Lastly, we are extremely grateful to Frontier Communications, CoBank, DISH Network and The Weather Channel, which sponsored the America’s Best Communities competition. This competition has put the spotlight on small towns across the country and has proven to be a tool to move forward rapidly with our plans to strengthen the economic vitality of our communities.
We make no little plans in Huntington. We aspire. We believe. We commit.

Huntington was one of eight finalists in the running for the top award. The other communities were Chisago Lakes Area, Minn.; Darrington/Arlington, Wash.; Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; Madison, Ind.; Statesboro, Ga.; Tualatin, Ore.; and Valley County, Idaho.

Huntington has four programs under its America’s Best Community plan that calls for the redevelopment of 75 acres that Williams said have been sitting vacant for 20 years.

The first program would transform brownfields properties in the Highlawn area into a sprawling business hub. City officials also expect to have a baseball stadium in the area.

Project two would turn the Northcott Court housing complex into a business center. Under the third project, the old Corbin factory in Westmoreland would be converted into a retraining facility for men and women out of work.

All four will be connected with the fourth project, a high speed network of broadband internet.

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