AND THEN AGAIN…….by Tamara Pettit

………I was impressed with the number of people who turned out for the Moving Forward Together meeting held Saturday. To my knowledge, aside from WVU Extension representatives, those in attendance were from the Newell coalition. I arrived early and sat and talked with almost all of them and one thing was crystal clear: they all cared about the community they call home. For years as a legislator and then owning a newspaper, I’ve attended many meetings. They were mostly attended by older residents, and I used to worry who about who would pick up the gauntlet when those community activists had passed.

…….I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more age diversified groups, from boomers on down than I did at that meeting. Those in their twenties and thirties brought their kids and the Newellies 4-H group told me they were there to do whatever they could to help.

……The Newell Coalition has always been active in making things happen. The clean-up and restoration of Laurel Hollow Park has been pretty phenomenal and it has become a site for concerts and events. While no-one was really sure what a “spash parade” was this year, a good time was had by all and I’m sure the parade will be back bigger and better than ever next year..

…….If you haven’t ever gone on and looked at the Laurel Hollow website, I’d suggest you give it a look. The site is done by Mark Gonzalez and the history of Newell is really interesting. I had never thought that the reason it was thought to be such a good site for Homer Laughlin and other plants, is its large amount of flat land. I was interested to find that it never incorporated. I had figured that it had incorporated and then unincorporated due to taxes (that’s what Pughtown, Fairview or New Manchester…depending on what generation you lived there, it’ll always be Pughtown to me) did. I would guess that Homer Laughlin was so predominate in the community that the community needs were met by the company and the presence of a taxation on businesses may have been seen as a detriment to economic development.

……..Not being incorporated, would mean that the County Commission would assume the role of receiving any grant funds and passing them along for their intended use.

……..But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Step one in this process was a good start and I am encouraged that with the expertise of the community development experts from WVU, the citizens of Newell have taken the first step towards getting some things done. Exactly what they think those things should be will be revealed as soon as we get the results of the survey which I am told should be Monday.