In efforts to make Wheeling a healthy community by increasing program and healthy lifestyle infrastructure, Wheeling Heritage frequently competes for Growing Healthy Community Grants.
Wheeling Heritage received grants in 2016 and 2017. One grant was for a bike rack placement study for downtown; the second was for predevelopment of Wheeling’s Public Market.
Bike Rack Study
Wheeling Heritage used a $5,000 grant for technical assistance to determine key locations for bike racks in Wheeling, specifically on the Wheeling Heritage Trail as well as in the downtown area. The goal of adding more bike racks is to encourage bicycle usage, promote bike safety, and discourage theft.
Prior to this study, the only bike racks in place included two small “decorative” single racks by the restrooms at Heritage Port near 14th and Main streets and a rack in the Centre Market area (which is at the south end of the market house and not very visible).
Wallace Pancher, a local architectural firm, completed the study, which outlines 21 key locations for bike racks, as well as the number of bike racks recommended at each location. The City of Wheeling has used this data to add several new bike racks throughout the city.
Wheeling’s Public Market
Wheeling Heritage received $25,000 in order to help Grow Ohio Valley bring a public market to Downtown Wheeling. According to the USDA, Downtown Wheeling is a Food Desert, due to a high poverty rate and low access to fresh foods. This market will bring local, fresh produce to residents in an underserved area.
The public market, which will be located at 14th and Main streets in the Intermodal Center, will cultivate a health-focused local food movement, and will bring a nutritious diet within reach to the community.
A majority of this grant was used for architectural drawings and plans with local firm Mills Group, and the remaining amount will be used for equipment at the market.
The architectural plans were presented to Grow Ohio Valley, and the organization has plans to open the market in the summer of 2018.
More about Growing Healthy Communities Grants
The Growing Healthy Communities Program is administered by the West Virginia Development Office, with funding provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health. The program provides competitive grants for West Virginia Main Street and ON TRAC communities for activities that increase community health and wellness, while also providing opportunities for downtown revitalization and development.