Historic tax credits are vital tools in the revitalization of West Virginia. Wheeling Heritage recently sponsored a toolkit, which is in the latest issue of WV Living magazine, that explains how property owners can apply and benefit from these incentives. Plus, it features some great projects in Wheeling, like the Kaley Center, the Flatiron Building and Boury Lofts. Click here to view the toolkit and read about how tax credits can lead to a more revitalized Downtown Wheeling. (link: /https://issuu.com/wvliving/docs/historic_tax_credit_toolkit)
About Alex Weld
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Project and Outreach Manager
WHEELING, W.Va. – Wheeling Heritage has received a first-place, $8,000 grant from the West Virginia Development Office. The organization was chosen due to the success of Show of Hands, its community support crowd-funding event.
The Development Office noted that the economic impact, community engagement, and uniqueness of the Show of Hands were reasons for this award.
To date, Show of Hands has given a total of $28,145 to eleven community projects. For-profit and non-profit organizations, as well as individuals, can present projects to attendees. Then, members of the crowd vote on the project they would like to support. The winning project is guaranteed at least $2,000, but as the program gains popularity and more funding, the prize has grown. The latest winner, Vigilant Books and Coffee, received $3,740.
Funding for Show of Hands is provided by those in attendance, as well as Orrick, the event’s corporate sponsor, and many Friends of Show of Hands, who donate to each event.
Alex Weld, project and outreach manager at Wheeling Heritage, noted that the Show of Hands model depends on community involvement.
“This event does something much more important than give funds to a project: It creates a sense of energy and positivity around downtown Wheeling,” she said. “Community members see first-hand how their neighbors are working to shape the future of Wheeling. They leave feeling great about their community, and also with a new outlook and understanding of how they can be part of its success.”
The next Show of Hands event is scheduled for May 27 at 5:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Artisan Center, located at 1400 Main Street in Wheeling.
Wheeling Heritage was eligible to apply for this award as the facilitator of Wheeling’s Main Street program. Main Street West Virginia is a program of the West Virginia Development Office and focuses on economic development of historic downtown and neighborhood commercial districts using the National Main Street Center’s Main Street Four-Point Approach, which includes comprehensive work in organization, promotion, design and economic vitality.
About Wheeling Heritage
Wheeling Heritage, a nonprofit organization formed in 1994, leads community efforts to preserve, enhance and communicate the natural, cultural, and historic resources that form Wheeling’s story. We have helped to shape the city’s development by making key investments such as the award-winning riverfront park, Heritage Port, and the Artisan Center in the heart of downtown. As champions of capacity-building, we have many public- and private-sector partners, and we engage the community to actively participate in Wheeling’s revitalization and growth. Our knowledge of development, historic property restoration and preservation of heritage makes Wheeling Heritage a conduit for education, technical assistance and advocacy.
WHEELING, W.Va. – Truly embracing the community spirit of Show of Hands, not one but two presenters left the event on May 24 with checks to fund their ideas for downtown Wheeling.
Show of Hands is a community-supported crowdfunding event hosted by Wheeling Heritage. Four presenters pitch their ideas. Then, those in attendance cast a vote on the project they feel will best impact Downtown Wheeling. The winner leaves with a check to put towards that project. This event raised a total of $3,740 for the winning presentation.
The highest vote-getter was the Vigilant Books and Coffee project. Chuck Wood and Vera Uyehara, who own the former North Wheeling firehouse, pitched their idea to begin the transformation of the building into a coffee shop and bookstore.
The money from Show of Hands, they explained, would be used to remove the paint from the façade of the building at 648 and 650 Main Street, the first of many steps they’ve outlined to get the building open for business.
Revealing the original masonry and cast terra cotta underneath the paint “is critical for visually demonstrating the rebirth of the building and inspiring future contributions,” Wood said. “We hope our example will lead others to bring back mom and pop shops that are meeting places for the community.”
After votes were cast and tallied, Jake Dougherty, Wheeling Heritage Executive Director, announced that only two votes separated first and second place – the closest vote in the history of Show of Hands.
When Vigilant Books and Coffee was announced as the winner, another Show of Hands first took place as Wood walked up to the microphone.
“I have a suggestion,” he said. “Since there’s only two votes difference, why don’t we split it?”
With a standing ovation from the crowd, Bike Wheeling was announced as the runner-up. Jim Adams, who has spearheaded the grassroots organization, joined them on stage.
Bike Wheeling’s plans include holding a community event with free bicycle helmets, purchasing and installing bicycle racks in Wheeling, and promoting bicycle safety and education. One goal of the organization is to have Wheeling listed as an official Bicycle Friendly Community, Adams explained, which would bring more people to the city and increase use of the area’s bike trails.
Vigilant Books and Coffee and Bike Wheeling each left the event with $1,870. However, each of the four presenters left with stronger community support.
The event’s other presenters included Ribbons-N-Bows Boutique, a Centre Market business that sells bows, tutus and other children’s accessories. Owner Michelle Fluharty pitched her idea to repaint the façade of the building and add signage, as well as begin selling helium balloons.
Second Chance Technology, an organization that refurbishes computers and gives them to needy families, also presented a project idea. Stacy Nixon said she has already donated five refurbished computers to those who could not afford them. She would have used the funding to expand the program.
Since its creation in 2014, Show of Hands has given $28,155 to the community. Orrick, the program’s corporate sponsor, donates $1,000 for each event. The Friends of Show of Hands, which consists of community members and business owners, also contribute to each event. In 2016, Show of Hands received $4,000 from the Governor’s Innovation Awards.
About Wheeling Heritage
Since its inception in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) organization, Wheeling Heritage has played an integral role in shaping the city’s development. We built the award-winning riverfront park, Heritage Port, and developed the Artisan Center, a renovated industrial building with a three-story atrium in the heart of downtown. We made key investments in the former Wheeling Stamping Building that became home to international law firm Orrick, a redevelopment recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We were and continue to be a partner in the revitalization of the landmark Capitol Theatre. We are spearheading a grassroots restoration of Mt. Wood Cemetery. Through the Wheeling Heritage Trails and historic markers around the city, we’ve helped visitors and outdoor enthusiasts learn about the city and its notable past. In 2016, Wheeling Heritage merged with Reinvent Wheeling, the city’s Main Street program, adding programs that focus on small business development, city planning, public art, and promotions. Our community-driven programs seek to protect the stories of industry, transportation, and culture that are characteristic of Wheeling.
Project and Outreach Manager