By Cassady Rosenblum
The City Council of Parsons discussed the Christmas parade, and its four-point strategic plan for the next five years. According to Parsons’ latest strategic plan created in partnership with the West Virginia Community Development Hub and FHLBank Pittsburgh, the city will prioritize building a recreation economy, developing quality housing options, supporting local businesses, and engaging the community.
Regarding recreation, Parsons’ strategic plan envisions that there will be at least one new restaurant and one new retail shop within one year, and two new restaurants and two new retail shops within two years. WIthin three years, the Allegheny Highlands Trail will be finished from Thomas to Hendricks, and the trails will be well maintained and promoted. Within one year, according to the plan, there will be eight AirBnBs within 10 miles of downtown; within three years a new bed & breakfast will be open; and within five years a small hotel/motel will be open.
Concerning housing, Parsons’ goal is for its housing burden to decrease by 20%. According to the strategic plan, Parsons will achieve this by working with private developers, nonprofit developers such as Woodlands Development Group and North Central WV Community Action, and by completing the redevelopment of the Board of Education building (former Parsons high school), which will house apartments and office spaces. Within two years, Parsons will also turn the lot of the former Lansberry building into apartments.
With respect to business, Parsons will complete the PRO Plaza building, and install two new businesses–preferably–according to the plan, a coffee shop and retail business. Five new businesses will be located in the Industrial Park, and Parsons will conduct regular business meetings with the community as well as provide loans to existing businesses to improve their facades.
Regarding community engagement, Parsons envisions continuing events such as the annual Parsons Community Street Fair, the annual Christmas Festival of the Trees, bench painting contests, and volunteer appreciation picnics.
Finally, Police Chief Kevin Keplinger advised citizens stay vigilant against phone scams, which he said are on the rise. Keplinger also urged residents to keep information regarding unusual traffic and other suspicious activity flowing to the police. “It’s working,” he said.
The next city council meeting will be held at the Community Center on December 21at 6 p.m. It will be catered by Piccolo Paula, and citizens are encouraged to bring a covered dish.