March 26, 2019

Manchin Applauds The Recognition Of Wheeling Heritage By The Great American Main Street

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauds the Great American Main Street announcement naming Wheeling Heritage as the winner of the 2019 Great American Main Street Award. Wheeling Heritage received the award at the National Main Street Conference on Monday, March 25, in Seattle. The national award recognizes communities for their excellence in comprehensive, preservation-based commercial district revitalization. 

Earlier this month as Ranking Member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as well as a Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Manchin successfully secured a funding cap increase for the Wheeling National Heritage Area in the Public Lands Package. This funding increase ensures that Wheeling Heritage is eligible for continued funding and assistance from the National Park Service to support their amazing work throughout the community. 

“I applaud the work of Wheeling Heritage over the past few years to turn Wheeling into a thriving downtown area. Wheeling has shown that investments into our communities can be successful when paid with community involvement. I congratulate Wheeling Heritage on their recognition and look forward to seeing citizens come together again to better their communities across West Virginia,” said Senator Manchin.

“For much of its history, Downtown Wheeling was the city’s crown jewel—until it wasn’t.  By the turn of the century, Downtown had come to be seen as a place that used to be something better.  That past-tense perception is changing now, and Wheeling Heritage has been at the forefront of this transformation.  We in city government are fortunate to have a partner so committed to downtown revitalization and community engagement,” said Glenn Elliott, Mayor of Wheeling. 

“We’re really honored to receive this award from Main Street America. It demonstrates that the progress in Wheeling is being recognized at a national level. In the last few years, we’ve seen vacancy rates decrease from 32% to 15% and dozens of new business open in the downtown. What’s happening right now in Wheeling is built off years of work, strong partnership, and community engagement. This is the community’s award, and while we’re really proud of what’s already occurred we know there is more work to be done. We are really excited to continue our work, engage new partners and community members, and make more progress toward a vibrant and healthy downtown,” said Jake Dougherty, Executive Director of Wheeling Heritage. 

Wheeling Heritage was chosen for its success in making the community an exciting place to live, work, play and visit, as well as its commitment to historic preservation and its ability to create strong partnerships. When Wheeling’s Main Street program was launched in 2015, the downtown vacancy rate stood at 32 percent. Now, after generating nearly $50 million in total investment downtown, the vacancy rate has decreased to 15 percent and 124 buildings have seen improvements. Over the past three years, downtown Wheeling has added 37 net new businesses.