West Virginia Department of Commerce Revitalizing a Town: Sutton, West Virginia

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Revitalizing a Town: Sutton, West Virginia

Flex-E-Grant Sutton

Community revitalization doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes hard work, vision and commitment from town leaders. In the case of Sutton, W.Va. it also helps to be a Flex-E-Grant recipient.

Several years ago a group of concerned residents in Sutton got together and decided to find ways of rebuilding the town. They looked at their town’s assets, which included the 1,400-acre Sutton Lake, the gourmet Café Cimino Country Inn and the Landmark Studio for the Arts, which hosts the annual West Virginia Filmmakers Festival. With these elements in place, the group decided to build upon them.

One imperative need was to build local capacity through a strong and sustainable economic development committee and to also develop a strategic economic development plan.

Through Flex-E-Grant funding, the committee conducted local surveys and held public meetings to obtain opinion research. With the assistance of a professional, outside planning organization, the group developed a clear vision and mission statement for the community.

The future of Sutton would be as an arts community, focusing on recreation and historic preservation – with the possibility of marketing themselves as a retirement community in the future. Results were taking hold. An effective community economic development organization was established. The town had a shared vision for the future and there was a dramatic increase in the amount of community participation from both residents and businesses.

With the plan in place, the Sutton Community Development Corporation applied to become an ON TRAC community, a project of Main Street West Virginia that fosters economic development through historic preservation. Through ON TRAC, people are once again investing in the town’s future. New businesses are opening and the community is moving forward.

The Flex-E-Grant was a stepping stone for Sutton’s future. It was instrumental in helping the community to meet its goals by providing the financial backing and support necessary for the town to grow and prosper.