Parkersburg seeing downtown resurgence

A great deal has happened in downtown in the last year. including the new Matheny Motors showroom with a new Corner Cafe, the new Farmers’ Market building, the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Culinary School and now the plans for the Union Trust building.

Reading about the sale of the Union Trust Building in downtown is certainly creating a buzz. Personally, I’m excited. While there has been no public announcement, this news implies that more people are coming into downtown.

The new owners, Siltstone Resources, are involved in buying mineral rights for their ever increasing holdings portfolio. These transactions take a great deal of effort, and that means employing people to do this work. Some guesses have been in the couple of hundred jobs range.

As a hotelier and restaurateur, I’m pleased to have two hundred more potential customers just up the street from me. I’m also pleased to understand that this organization has an interest in maintaining and enhancing the condition of one of the finest historic buildings in downtown.

This is all good news. One more great old building is being put to good use in Downtown PKB. This confirms something a few of us have been saying for a while. Downtown Parkersburg is experiencing the revitalization that many of us have anticipated. And this will continue.

Downtown will continue to grow, both in quantity and hopefully quality. This is an excellent time to be planning for downtown’s resurgence. It will happen whether we plan it or not. Planning for it will give us better results, but it will happen none the less.

Also, downtown will grow whether its expansion is from local development or new, outside growth. While we may not know the details or speed of the growth, the sure thing is that it will happen. We’re seeing it right before our eyes.

It is my hope that some of downtown’s revitalization is created by existing businesses and local developers, but I don’t control what happens. I do, however, plan to be a part of it, and I hope you plan to be part of it as well. It’s up to you.

If you’re interested, I can tell you how to get involved. Downtown PKB is an organization that has been working on developing strategic plans for improving downtown Parkersburg’s opportunities. Downtown PKB’s Executive Director is Carrie Nesselrode and she is helping organize four committees focusing on creating and executing action plans to create support for downtown revitalization.

The four committees are Organization, Design, Promotions, and Economic Restructuring. Each committee is working on providing support to both private and public efforts for downtown Parkersburg to create a vibrant community culture. And anyone can be involved.

If you are interested in being part in the exciting work of revitalizing downtown Parkersburg, and you want to know more about what’s going on, give Carrie a call at 304-865-0522, or email her at You can also contact me at the Blennerhassett Hotel at 304-422-3131 or

Or you can come see me. I’ll be in the lounge.


Cecil Childress is General Manager of the Blennerhassett Hotel and chairman of Downtown PKB.