FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A public comment period is underway in Fairmont in connection with plans being made for the Beltline Neighborhood.
Fairmont leaders are working on a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the area that covers a portion of the city roughly from the Monongahela River to the West Fork River by way of Fairmont Avenue and Third Street.
The Beltline Neighborhood was a work/live area that now many closed factories and businesses and vacant properties. The city held an open house last week.
Fairmont Director of Planning and Development Shae Strait said the area has important assets for neighborhood residents and the community.
“There are also some key assets in the neighborhood such as East West Stadium and the West Side Middle School that make this a significant part of our town,” Strait said. “It also borders Fairmont Avenue that hosts part of our primary commercial corridor.”
Public safety and improving the quality of space have been mentioned as priorities. Strait said much of comment has been regarding connections from Beltline to other parts of the city.
“Housing, transportation is one of the big needs people talk a lot about the side blocks, desire for the rail trail and a desire for city park space within the neighborhood,” Strait said.
Strait said comments from the public have produced unique ideas to serve neighborhood residents, but also facilities that draw residents from outside the neighborhood to the area.
“We’ve also heard other things about ways we can creatively redevelopment some of these vacant industrial properties and put them back into reuse,” Strait said.
Planners want to modernize and create greater access to quality of life components and create a space that will draw investment to the city and create an up to date living area.
“We want to a way to get health services into the neighborhood or certain types of social services, life training skill centers or evening activities that relate to after school programs for children,” Strait said.
Strait said all of the input will be collected and shared with consultants to begin drafting a plan to be reviewed by city council. A 5-10 year growth plan could be completed and ready for a city council vote in about six months. If approved by council, work on some aspects of the plan could begin immediately.
“Some of the things citizens brought up we’re already working on, which is fine because it lets us know we’re already headed in the right direction with some of our existing projects,” Strait said.