Block party organizers plan big changes in Kenova
KENOVA -- About a dozen vendors lined Chestnut Street in Kenova on Saturday afternoon during the first-ever Kenova Community Block Party.
A steady stream of people visited the event, which was created to showcase local businesses and vendors, said Ed Layman, an organizer for the event.
The party was the first effort by community members to put the focus on Kenova's "Main Street" after it became a part of the West Virginia Organization, Training, Revitalization and Capacity Program, or ON TRAC, in 2012, said Layman.
"Something like this brings traffic in to Kenova," said Layman. "It brings people right to our downtown area, and it has a lot of potential to bring people to the town who might not have come here otherwise."
ON TRAC is a program developed by Main Street West Virginia to encourage economic growth within communities by providing resources for evaluation, education and networking, according to the press release announcing Kenova's inclusion in the program.
The 18 ON TRAC communities in West Virginia receive assessment, planning, design, grant assistance and mentoring from Main Street programs.
Gordon Jones is the commissioner of the Cabell Huntington Parks and Recreation District, and he also serves as a liaison between Main Street West Virginia and the City of Kenova.
While being part of ON TRAC is a huge boost for the town, he said the real difference in the success or failure of the project rests in the hands of Kenova residents.
"Whether this thing sinks or swims is a matter of community participation," said Jones. "It's one thing for the government to provide it, but it will not succeed if the community, everyone from business people to private citizens, doesn't go for it."
There are plenty of opportunities for residents to get involved, said Jones.
The best way to become involved, or even just to get more information, is to join the Core Citizens Group by filling out a flier, which have been distributed to local businesses, and mailing it to the C-K Area Business Association, P.O. Box 1449 Ceredo, WV, 25507.
In the meantime, Layman said residents can expect Saturday's block party to be the first of many.
"We plan to do it at least two more times this summer alone," said Layman. "I hope we can get people to realize Kenova is not just an exit on the interstate. We have good, vibrant businesses and people here that are worth visiting."
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