Ravenswood officials, WVU plan revitalization project

RAVENSWOOD – The City of Ravenswood is joining with graduate students and staff from West Virginia University to set up a plan in “Revitalizing Ravenswood.”

City officials and community stakeholders are going to work with the school’s Department of Public Administration over the next two years (four semesters).

The four phases that will be looked at consist of Governance Capacity Building, Mobilizing & Dialog, Planning & Deliberation and Project Development & Implementation.

In keeping with West Virginia’s comprehensive planning law, the two sides will develop guidelines, goals and objectives for all activities that affect growth and development in the city, said Ravenswood Mayor Michael Ihle. In doing so, they will engage the entire community in a participatory process, he added.

“We need people to be receptive to the team, take the surveys, keep their eyes and ears open, come to the meetings, bring their ideas, become involved in each step in the process, and help us develop this plan and implement the projects,” the mayor said. “Citizens, and especially City Council, must engage in this project in order for it to succeed. That’s how this has to work – period.”

The WVU team and the city will begin their efforts this weekend by touring a local manufacturing facility, meeting with key stakeholders to understand economic and demographic conditions, and distributing the survey to gauge citizens’ opinions on Ravenswood’s capsity for collaborative governance.

“What we hope to do is help them build their capacity both in the sense on governing and administering,” said program director and assistant professor Margaret Stout. “The second benefit is engaging citizens in creating a shared vision and a sense of responsibility for helping to implement that vision.”