BUCKHANNON — Buckhannon City Council met on July 2 at city hall. Several updates from local organizations’ department and board reports were provided to the council during the meeting.
Danny Stiles of the Buckhannon Community Theatre was present to provide information on the upcoming production. Stiles is the Asset Director for BCT. The group will be showcasing Mary Poppins at the end of July and tickets are available for purchase now. The theatrical performance will be different from the movie but will have the same premise. The show Rob Hinton, Upshur County Development Authority provided an update on the Spring Street Innovation Center Project. will prove to be “an awesome family show,” according to Stiles. Next week auditions will begin for Dracula, which will be the first performance in the much-anticipated opening of the Colonial Theatre on Main Street. Mary Poppins will be open to the public July 24-27, offering three evening performances and a matinee on Sunday.
Laura Meadows, executive director of the Upshur County Convention & Visitors Bureau presented the year-end report to the City Council. As the UCCVB transitioned into the current fiscal year, creative exposure was a main focus. A new tagline for the agency was created and titled ‘Small Town Getaway with Big Time Charm’. Meadows stated, “Buckhannon is more than just our main street, but there is so much more than just our main streets.” UCCVB is happy to partner with any community group that is promoting tourism related events. Main goals accomplished this year was new photography, collaboration with community groups that are working on river or trail access, aditorials or paid articles, the event center at Brushy Fork which was exceeded by $3,000. The event center coordinator was able to actively work with the Shriners and get them to come back to Buckhannon and use the center in October.
Rob Hinton, Upshur County Development Authority provided an update on the Spring Street Innovation Center Project. Hinton stated, “The innovation center is approaching the runway and hopefully going to be finished soon.” Hinton reported that the project should be completed by the end of the month. The overall sentiment is that the building does fit nicely with the other buildings downtown. Dan Hill Construction is the contractor laboring this $3.7 million project. Businesses that will be going in to the Innovation Center are the UCDA on the second floor, Region 7 on the second floor, and the Small Business Development Coach. The rest of the second floor will be co-working space, defined as flex office space. Hinton said, “This is a really unique thing for a small rural community to have.” The Innovation Center promotes the ability to bring these business resources together in one building. The center will perpetuate professional office space with all the amenities that businesses and start-ups can rent for really inexpensive costs. Knowledge based businesses are looking to move in to rural communities and this building creates great opportunities for the City of Buckhannon. The cost of doing business in West Virginia is tremendously less than other areas of the country. All of the core components that these companies are looking for Buckhannon has to offer, high-end institution of higher education, great quality of life, and a good talent pool according to Hinton. The Innovation Center already has some letters of intent from businesses for the first floor of the center.
Stockert Youth and Community Center Director, Debora Brockleman, announced a new Program Coordinator, Michelle Harter, to the City Council during the board report. Camp Buccanneer is in full swing for the summer, there are over 60 campers actively participating in the program. Some children are still on a waiting list and are able to attend when other kids go on vacation or attend other summer events. The campers are enjoying field trips and a multitude of activities. Summer league basketball has begun, there are currently eight teams and executing three games a night. Brockleman said, “For June our youth involvement hours were 13,576 hours, the highest we have ever had.”
Good things are happening in downtown Buckhannon and beyond. City Council meetings are open to the public. The next regular scheduled City Council Meeting will be on July 18 at 7 p.m