Downtown group looking for volunteers

PARKERSBURG – People interested in giving their time and in making an impact on downtown Parkersburg had the chance to learn what opportunities are available now and in the future.

More than 50 people attended a volunteer information session Tuesday evening at the Blennerhassett Hotel by Downtown PKB, which is seeking volunteers and committee members for upcoming projects and events.

Parkersburg resident Nancy Heye was among those looking to see what volunteer opportunities were available through the Downtown PKB program.

Having retired a year ago, Heye said she has been volunteering with the Parkersburg Actors Guild and through the children’s programs and other activities at the Parkersburg/Wood County Public Library and with the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“I’m interested in finding out what the program offers and where I can fit in to help the community,” Heye said of Tuesday’s event.

“I’m pretty flexible and I think probably wherever I can best fit in, that’s where I’d like to work at,” she said. “All of the above” would best describe her interests, she said.

Jorge Tecunolmos of Parkersburg has been volunteering for the past three years with the ON TRAC revitalization program in downtown Parkersburg. He also wanted to help with the Downtown PKB program.

“As a young person, I can be a frontrunner promoting values, community values to young people. I can help them really understand the value of what they have and who they are as individuals and what their families have paved the way for them,” he said.

“I believe a lot of the time, we just need a little encouragement,” Tecunolmos said.

After an introduction by Carrie Nesselrode, executive director of Downtown PKB, those attending talked Tuesday with members of the organization’s board of directors about the opportunities available to them to help bring and make improvements to the downtown area.

Nesselrode said Downtown PKB is creating four committees to address needs and plans. The first is the design committee, which will focus on beautification and storefront programs. Another is the promotions committee, which will work on promoting downtown Parkersburg through activities and events, including the Downtown Farmers’ Market, the Taste of Parkersburg and the Point Park Music Series.

The economic restructuring committee will work on developing ways to make downtown Parkersburg more economically sound and determining what kinds of businesses are needed to fill niches in the downtown marketplace, Nesselrode said.

The organization committee will work on volunteer recruitment, communications and other issues.

Nesselrode said the committee setup will allow volunteers to pick where their interests and strengths can best be used. Some people may want to volunteer for specific events or programs, while others may want to work on longer-term projects and help with planning and developing new programs and activities.

“You can help with a specific event, if that’s all you want to do,” she said. “We also have some committees where it will take the whole committee working together on an ongoing basis to really see some things come to fruition.”

Nesselrode said the first committee meeting dates have been scheduled, and those initial meetings will determine the schedules and focus for the committees in the future. Those meetings will be held at the Downtown PKB office at 509 1/2 Market St., beginning at noon on April 23 (economic restructuring); April 30 (promotions); May 7 (organizational) and May 14 (design).

For more information on Downtown PKB, visit www.downtownpkb.com.