November 14, 2014
A 10,000 square foot building which once sat vacant and dilapidated on the courthouse square of Wayne, WV has now been revitalized into a vibrant place of affordable housing and community development. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held Thursday, November 20, at 1:00 PM to introduce both dignitaries and the general public to the renovated space located at 524 Hendricks Street in Wayne, WV. Light refreshments and live mountain music will be available. After a brief ceremony, a tour of the building is scheduled.
Housing Authority of Wayne County is the owner of the building. Coalfield Development Corporation served as Developer and General Contractor. Mills Groups, LLC was the project architect. “We’re so proud of this creative project and can’t wait to show it off,” said Brett Jones, Executive Director of Housing Authority of Wayne County. “Our community will be strengthened by this,” Jones continued. “People can have a quality place to live and to be a part of a community that supports them in achieving all their life goals. And it’s not just the tenants who will benefit, it’s the entire town because we’ve taken what once was an empty building and converted it into a productive place again, spurring investment and development right downtown. Already, you can see other building owners throughout town following suit.”
The “Old Urlings General Store,” as locals call it, now has five affordable apartment units, dubbed Urlings Apartments. The building also includes a community room which will house life skills and job training for tenants of the apartment units as well as office space for the Housing Authority of Wayne County. The project, with a budget of just under $900,000, was funded by Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, the West Virginia Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and the Cabell-Huntington-Wayne HOME Consortium. Fundraising is still underway to complete the commercial portion of the building which is to include a coffee shop that will be operated by low-income tenants living upstairs through an on-the-job-training program.
“We’re all about developing projects that don’t just provide shelter over heads as a charitable service, but that create true opportunity so people can break out of poverty cycles,” said Brandon Dennison, Executive Director of Coalfield Development Corporation. “That’s why we have the life-skills and job-training components for tenants built into this development. Moreover, this entire project was constructed by local trainees participating in our 33-6-3 model: 33 hours a week working on construction projects, six hours a week in the community college classroom pursuing an Associate’s Degree, and three hours a week of life-skills mentorship. We call this our Quality Jobs Initiative.” Coalfield Development is a 501(c)3 non-profit working for quality homes, quality jobs, and quality lives in Wayne, Lincoln, and Mingo Counties, West Virginia.
The project includes multiple “energy efficiency” elements, including solar hot water heaters. “Those have really gotten people talking,” said Jones of the solar technology visible on top of the building. The “green” project elements have enabled Coalfield trainees to develop 21st century work-skills that will benefit them in the private sector.
“This is a truly empowering project,” said Wayne County Delegate Don Perdue, who also serves as Executive Director of the Wayne County Economic Development Authority. “This has created local jobs, stimulated the local economy, and strengthened our community for generations to come. It’s everything a community and economic development project should be.”
Perdue continued, “Recapturing something thought to be lost requires commitment and hard work. From the beginning these two essentials have been met by every party involved. What a result!”