Within the first week of launching miburg.com, we received an enthusiastic Facebook message, inviting us to attend the November 17th What’s Next, Berkeley County? meeting. Although we had not heard of the initiative, we became overwhelmingly excited after just a few minutes of research.
What’s Next, West Virginia? is a nonpartisan, statewide initiative designed to encourage community based conversations about our state’s future and to help communities plan actions based on their own ideas for building stronger local economies. However, the movement is more than just a conversation. The West Virginia Center for Civic Life and The West Virginia Community Development Hub provide workshops, coaching and other materials to assist with facilitating community discussion and implementation of ideas. West Virginia Public Broadcasting also shares stories of individuals who are working to create a prosperous future.
The local chapter, What’s Next, Berkeley County?, has been meeting for several months, and their brainstorming led to hundreds of different ideas for Martinsburg. The November 17th meeting, which we attended, was the first working group meeting. This is where individuals adopted an idea to turn into reality.
Groups have formed around three unique goals. There is a team working towards developing an art walk event in downtown Martinsburg. A second team is working towards opening an indoor community pool. Finally, the third group is dedicated towards successfully reopening the farmer’s market in downtown Martinsburg.
Although the three groups have begun the planning phase, there is always room for more members to get involved. All three teams will meet on the third Tuesday of each month to provide progress reports, identify resources and to collaborate. These meetings are open, and citizens are encouraged to come out and participate.
Miburg was created with this in mind. We believe that criticism is acceptable when ideas for improvement are offered. It’s just not enough to complain. Here is your opportunity to get involved. It costs nothing. You do not need to be a business owner or politician. You do not need to be connected or even highly educated. You do not need to have endless resources. You just need to be a citizen who cares. You can support the three established teams or bring new ideas. What’s Next, Berkeley County? invites you to take a seat at the table.
We had a wonderful time and met a group of amazing individuals, each one passionate about improving their community. We look forward to attending future meetings, collaborating and supporting them as they work to implement positive growth and change. Of course, we hope to see you there.
The next group meeting will be held at the James Rumsey Technical Institute on December 15th at 6:00pm.
Check out the links below for more information about What’s Next, Berkeley County?
Here is a list of active What’s Next, West Virginia? communities and contact information for those living in other parts of the state.
Here is information on how to start your very own What’s Next, West Virginia? local chapter if there is not one in your area.
(Photo by Nicholas Trietsch)