Fresh blood in Martinsburg city hall ready to revitalize downtown

West Virginia

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — With a new mayor and city council having just been elected this past summer, Martinsburg is looking to spiff things up.

Call it the “Martinsburg Makeover.” An urban facelift, if you will.

The largest city in the eastern panhandle, in the state’s fastest-growing county, is out to beautify its downtown. Martinsburg elected its first woman mayor this summer, a new council too. And Priority One is revitalizing blighted downtown buildings. A former city councilman is all for the forward-looking vision.

“You know,” says Glenville Twigg, “there are so many different things you can do in urban renewal. And I’m for all of it. You have to keep the neighborhoods healthy and the city healthy.”

It’s a view shared by current Ward 2 City Councilman Kevin Knowles who supports the plan that gives the city more flexibility to finance beautifying downtown structures. The payoff, he says, is more business that creates more jobs.

“I would think five years from now you’re going to see more businesses in town you’re going to see probably a bigger city footprint,” Knowles says.

Knowles sees the city expanding through annexation. Former Councilman Twigg is following the work of this new city administration with a sense of admiration.

“I think it’s wonderful,” says Twigg. “I mean you have do pro-active things in city government. You must make changes, improve the neighborhoods.”

Councilman Knowles sees the city growing by building on its tradition as a railroad hub, with an architectural landmark associated with those glory days, the roundhouse.

“That’s going to bring some economic impact into the downtown area,” says Knowles. “That project is going to flourish throughout the city.”

And the city has identified two dozen properties for immediate improvement and plans to create a building commission to borrow funds for the revitalization projects.

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