CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Wheeling Heritage was selected as the winner of the 2019 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA). The National Main Street Center announced the award Monday, March 25, during its national conference in Seattle, Washington.
This marks the first time Wheeling Heritage has won the top position in GAMSA.
Wheeling Heritage is being recognized for turning its downtown into a thriving destination with a strong business base.
“Wheeling Heritage has worked to revitalize its downtown, preserve its historic character and make the city an exciting place to be,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “The effort, and the fantastic results, can be done only when the business community, the civic leaders and the public pull together.”
Main Street West Virginia, a program under the West Virginia Development Office, focuses on economic revitalization of historic downtown and neighborhood commercial districts. Wheeling Heritage was founded in 1994. The city was designated a Main Street community in 2015.
“Wheeling has shown a commitment to preserving its past and a vision to developing its economic future,” said Nikki Martin, Main Street West Virginia and ON TRAC coordinator. “Wheeling Heritage continues to revitalize the city with programs in historic interpretation, community, and arts and recreation.”
“While we’ve made great progress, our work isn’t done,” said Alex Weld, Project and Outreach Manager at Wheeling Heritage, who oversees Wheeling’s Main Street program. “We continuously evaluate and adapt our programming to address pressing needs in the community, which we feel is the best way to help Wheeling continue to flourish.”
The National Main Street Center selected the award-winning communities based on the following criteria:
• Overall strength of the Main Street program and documented success in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit;
• Demonstrated impact aligning with the Main Street Approach;
• Commitment to historic preservation;
• Active involvement of the public and private sector;
• Model partnerships, including inclusive engagement of community members and local stakeholders in the downtown revitalization process; and
• A Main Street America Accredited Program.
Main Street West Virginia provides technical assistance to the state’s designated Main Street communities. The program focuses on revitalizing aging business districts, preserving the area’s distinctive history and capitalizing on the community’s resources.
For more about Main Street West Virginia visit http://wvcad.org/infrastructure/main-street-wv-and-ontrac.