INSTITUTE — The New River Gorge Trail Alliance (NRGTA), led in part by West Virginia State University (WVSU) Extension Agent Adam Hodges, has received a Power of Performance award at the second annual Small Communities, BIG Solutions Conference, held Nov. 18 in South Charleston.
The NRGTA formed in 2016 as a means of linking the New River Gorge region’s many recreational opportunities, people and businesses together through one regional trail system, therein supporting a healthier community and more robust economy.
“I was working on a grant for the Town of Fayetteville, when discussions led to the realization that it was difficult to identify trail-related priorities for the greater region,” Hodges said. “It was suggested that we needed a way to get everyone on the same page and to vet potential projects for the greatest public benefit.”
Those discussions led to the formation of the NRGTA, of which Hodges currently serves as vice president and is helping guide the ongoing work and development of regional trail systems specifically connecting communities.
“Adam’s leadership, knowledge and skills have contributed in a major way to the success of the New River Gorge Trail Alliance,” said NRGTA Project Manager Billy Strasser. “When I need to identify a local community leader for assistance on a project, Adam not only connects me with that person, but also tells me the other people who should be in on the conversation, gives me background on what is happening in that community, and helps me identify grant opportunities that might help them.”
The Power of Performance Award from the Small Communities, BIG Solutions Conference is just the latest in a number of recent successes of NRGTA, including three successful Appalachian Regional Commission POWER Initiative grant applications being administered by the Region 4 Planning and Development Council.
The Small Communities, BIG Solutions Conference shares southern West Virginia success stories on an array of topics, including education, small business, recovery, economic development and community revitalization. NRGTA was one of seven West Virginia Power of Performance honorees at the event, which is hosted by the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia, the West Virginia Community Development Hub and the Coalfield Development Corporation.