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Active Projects


Mon Forest Business Initiative

Funder: ARC, EDA, Benedum Foundation

Fiscal Agent: Woodlands Community Lenders

Project Director: Emily Wilson-Hauger

Project Timeframe: January 2019 - December 2022

Amount: $1,205,000

One-on-one business advising, third-party technical assistance, and access to capital for start-up and growing businesses in the recreation and tourism sectors in the Monongahela National Forest region. Partnership between Woodlands Community Lenders and Partner Community Capital. Outcomes: Businesses served, businesses created/improved, jobs created/retained, loan $ deployed and leveraged.


Mon Forest Towns Recreation Economies Project

Funder: Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

Fiscal Agent: West Virginia University Foundation

Project Director: Doug Arbogast, WVU Extension Rural Tourism Specialist, doug.arbogast@mail.wvu.edu

Project Timeframe: October 2019 -  February 2022

Amount: $185,000

The Mon Forest Towns Recreation Economies Project (MFT-REPA) aims to develop a Performance Agenda that will provide the Monongahela National Forest (MNF) and its gateway communities to develop and promote recreation economies to improve its economy through an appreciative participatory planning and action process.  Additional funding is needed to support capacity building, formalize the partnership between the communities and USDA partners through a partnership agreement, establish a MFT board comprised of representatives from each town that will help to guide the project, and develop a Performance Agenda which includes a shared vision for tourism and goals, objectives, and action strategies with listed responsible parties. Additional grant activities include incorporating the Mon Forest Towns identity system into a regional signage plan, a Mon Forest Towns website designed to incorporate the identity system and regional asset map, tell the stories of the forest and the gateway communities, and trail planning to connect communities to trails and capture economic opportunities for mountain bike trail development.  In addition, economic indicators will be established and monitored as a baseline to track the impact of recreation economy development strategies.  


Mon Forest Towns Development

Funder: Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

Fiscal Agent: West Virginia University Foundation

Project Director: Doug Arbogast, WVU Extension Rural Tourism Specialist, doug.arbogast@mail.wvu.edu

Project Timeframe: January 2021 -  October 2022

Amount: $210,000

The Mon Forest Towns Development project seeks resources to support the identification, preparation, and submission of high-quality proposals for priority projects and continue to measure and evaluate important performance indicators.  Additional funding is being requested to focus on the primary objectives of populating the list of potential funders, further identifying the viability and fundability of projects, leveraging current sources of funding, establishing clarity on current and future projects identified in performance agendas.  Identifying which sources of funding are appropriate fits for the funding source and submission of high-quality proposals.  A grants coordinator will work with members of the grants committee to create capture teams that will strategically leverage their resources to pursue and secure grants.  In addition, WVU faculty and students will collaborate with local steering committees to identify the indicators applicable to recreation economies and develop an integrated process for measuring and evaluating these performance indicators. Local stakeholders targeted include key informants, businesses, residents, and visitors to identify the current economic, environmental, and social impact of the recreation economy and attitudes and preferences for future development.


Downtown Appalachia: Revitalizing Recreational Economies (DARRE)

Funder: ARC POWER

Fiscal Agent: WV Community Development Hub

Project Director: Kaycie Stushek, k.stushek@wvhub.org and Stacy Thomas, s.thomas@wvhub.org

Project Timeframe: October 2021 - September 2024

Amount: $920,482 through The Hub, also funding for equity investment through PCAP

Goal of preparing key downtown buildings to be development ready and to support entrepreneurs in gaining skills towards predevelopment activities. Support provided for downtown building inventories and predevelopment technical assistance, market assessments, building showcase opportunities, financial process support, equity investment and support to local businesses.


Mon Forest Towns capacity building and operating framework

Funder: Just Transition Fund

Fiscal Agent: Woodlands Development Group

Project Director: Doug Arbogast, doug.arbogast@mail.wvu.edu

Project Timeframe: January 2022 - December 2022

Amount: $25,000

JTF funds will be used to help formalize the Partnership’s structure, develop a sustainable operating framework through which it can advance its regional economic activities, and carry out the capacity building activities in the Partnership’s strategic plan.