PARKERSBURG- Efforts by businesses and civic leaders to create interest in the city's downtown have garnered national attention.
Mango Latin Bistro and downtown Parkersburg were recently featured in Main Street Now, a journal of the National Trust Main Street Now Center. The journal's latest issue includes a four-page article on Tere and Ross Clegg's Mango Latin Bistro and the city's efforts to build a thriving downtown.
"That's awesome," said Tere Clegg.
The Bistro offers a variety of the South American and Caribbean-influenced dishes. Its cuisine is unique to the area.
Clegg is holding evening events to lure patrons downtown. Last month about 100 people crowded into the Bistro at various times to sample art, Latin wine and food and music.
Carrie Nesslerode, executive director of Downtown PKB, said the recognition in Main Street Now highlights the efforts of businesses and organizations such as Mango.
"It highlights and gives due credit to Mango and the organizations from the standpoint that they are doing what we would like to see all businesses do downtown - working and doing things to bring people downtown."
The Main Street program is a movement designed to transform the way communities go about the revitalization and management of downtown neighborhoods and commercial districts.
According to its website, the National Trust Main Street Center has overseen the development of a national network of coordinating programs that today includes 37 statewide programs, seven citywide programs and two regional programs.
City Planning Director Rickie Yeager said Lauren Adkins, a private consultant, was in town in February for an ON TRAC statewide workshop.
"She toured downtown and decided to write an article about (Mango)," Teager said.
Adkins said Yeager was giving officials a tour of the downtown area, describing it as a "entrepreneurial incubator."
"I was entranced with all these businesses," she said.
Adkins was particularly enthralled with Mango.
"Tere's story was intriguing," she said. "The cool love story with her husband (Ross) and bringing in ethnic foods and great art to its attraction as a gathering spot and the upstairs housing. There are a lot of great angles to the story."
Adkins' article also highlights the efforts of many others in the downtown community who have worked to revive the area.
Cam Huffman, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Authority, said the fact a well-circulated magazine is taking notice of what's happening in Parkersburg was "flattering."
"There are Main Street programs all over the U.S. and we made the cut," he said.
"You end up doing this stuff and wonder how you are doing compared to others and when the organization that heads up this kind of stuff recognizes what we are doing, you see you are doing something right."
Mayor Bob Newell was made aware of the article while he was in Boston at the National League of Cities meeting. Newell said in meeting with vendors it was beneficial to talk about Parkersburg and point out its recent press.
"Recognition in national magazines is certainly the type of things that does bring in things from the outside," he said.
"We always celebrate those rankings, whether it is CNN or whoever does it.
"When people are looking around to relocate they take notice of those publications. And companies take notice of those publications."