GRAFTON, W. Va. — A two-hour workshop session was lead by staff members from the West Virginia Community Development Hub in which teams of residents worked toward completing an application for a grant to fund a project to help improve the town.

It was originally the idea of Nikki Bowman, founder of New South Media, Inc., to provide small towns in the state a chance at rejuvenation. The company’s magazine West Virginia Focus partnered with West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the West Virginia Community Development Hub, selected eight towns — four from the north and four from the south — and allowed people to vote for the two finalist. In the end, Grafton and Matewan were selected.

Bowman and others visited the two towns to drum up community support for the project, holding meetings to brainstorm initial improvement ideas and putting on events such as town cleanups.

Workshops began and the turnout was not what had been hoped. Good ideas were being presented, but not in the amount Hub staff members felt was ideal, considering the town’s population.

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