HubCAP meetings slated

Three Fayette County municipalities will conduct public HubCAP kickoff events in the coming days.

The events will be centered around the West Virginia Community Development Hub's (The Hub) Communities of Achievement program. Last fall, WV Hub leaders revealed that Smithers, Montgomery, Oak Hill, Weston and New Martinsville are the five communities participating in the fifth iteration of HubCAP. HubCAP V, a three-year program, will focus on accelerating community-led economic development efforts, according to a past press release.

The plan calls for The Hub’s staff to work alongside community volunteer leaders to "help them recover from the impacts of Covid-19, implement plans to create the vibrant communities they envision, and create long-term sustainability plans to ensure climate resilience." These areas of focus will enable the communities to keep their local economies "strong and growing," according to the release.

According to Stacy Thomas, a WV Hub community coaching programs coordinator, HubCAP provides direct, on-the-ground coaching and funding to undertake a creative placemaking project and a larger, technical assistance project. Each community will receive over $20,000 through its participation in the program, she said. The majority of the funding comes from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program with support from the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA), as well as other matching funds.

"HubCAP (Communities of Achievement) is an exciting project because it gives community members the opportunity to build their leadership and get involved with community-driven projects," Thomas said Tuesday. "We have the success of 27 previous communities to draw from and peer learning opportunities to help participants learn new ideas and skills."

"People who attend a kickoff will learn how they can get involved in grassroots change in their own community," she said. "It's an opportunity to learn what is happening in your town and how folks can be involved in shaping the future and projects in each town. We strive to have diverse and inclusive teams, so we invite everyone to come join us to learn about the ways you can be involved."

According to city representative Beach Vickers, the Smithers kickoff event is scheduled for Thursday, March 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event is labeled as "a celebration of good things going on and how you can help make more happen now." It will feature "fun and free food," and all ages are welcome to attend. 

Interested residents do not have to live within city limits to attend, Vickers said.

Fayette County kickoff events are as follows:

• Oak Hill — Tuesday, March 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the upstairs banquet room of City Limits (1206 Summerlee Road, Oak Hill). There will be light refreshments and snacks, classic carnival games and an introduction to manners in which community volunteers can help the city move forward.

• Smithers — Thursday, March 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Gateway Center (2 Greyhound Lane, Smithers). For more information, phone city hall at 304-442-5282.

• Montgomery — Thursday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Montgomery City Hall (321 4th Ave., Montgomery). Light refreshments will be provided. 

The Hub is joined by partners such as local economic development authority organizations within the communities, as well as other long-standing community partners who will offer technical expertise and crucial services to help the five communities identify and develop projects which will bring value to their citizens and visitors. Partners include the NRGRDA and West Virginia University’s School of Design and Community Development.

According to WV Hub officials, the partners will work closely with the community teams to expand their leadership capacity and learn the ins and outs of community and economic development. Teams will also be coached to identify and develop assets for branding and laying the groundwork to encourage new businesses, business growth and entrepreneurial vibrancy in their downtowns. These efforts should also attract visitors and new residents while activating what current residents want to see in their communities, officials said.

The current HubCAP cohort includes communities that have completed previous Hub programs and expect to build on the projects and expertise they gained from past experience and training. Weston and New Martinsville, for example, are building on their work from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh’s Blueprint Communities™ Program, and Smithers and Montgomery have both worked in the past with The Hub as part of the Cultivate WV program.

For the past 12 years, The Hub has provided technical assistance training and financial resources support to 27 rural West Virginia communities through HubCAP. 

To learn more about HubCAP, Thomas can be reached at For more on the RCDI program and how to apply, contact Janna Lowery at

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