BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. — West Virginia’s 12 certified Main Street communities are working together to start a nonprofit organization called Downtown West Virginia.

The 501(c) will allow main street groups to expand beyond the technical assistance currently provided by Main Street West Virginia.

“Our state level does give us some resources, but they can’t give us enough resources,” according to Main Street Martinsburg Executive Director Randy Lewis
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Lewis said during a recent edition of “Panhandle Live” on WEPM, the MetroNews affiliate in Martinsburg, that, since its founding in 1988, the Main Street program has helped with developing and implementing projects and promotions, but that the need has expanded.

“It’s really about economic development,” Lewis said. “It takes that as well as projects and promotion.”

Right now, the Main Street communities lack a voice in Charleston, he told WEPM. Lewis said Downtown West Virginia will change that.

“We will actually be able to have more pull at the state level where we can actually lobby from our own local communities,” Lewis said.

Lewis said leaders of the existing Main Street communities made the decision to develop the nonprofit after a recent meeting.

He believes it will be up and running sometime in 2017.

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