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City Of Elkins Top 10 of 2023
By: Jeremy DeighanJanuary 24, 2024

City of Elkins: Top 10 of 2023

Elkins had a great year in 2023, with the beginning of some trailblazing outdoor initiatives, the most progress in a generation on removing dilapidated buildings, access to new revenues for some transformational projects, and more. There is a growing sense of momentum, and we couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead. But before we get too much farther into 2024, let’s take a pause and look back at some of the city’s best accomplishments and biggest news from the year that was.

1. EAST Marks Trails Progress in First Year

In just one year, the Elkins Area Shared Trails (EAST) working group, with over 30 member organizations, has made strides in expanding shared-use trails around Elkins. Securing $80,000 in grants and taking steps toward becoming a 501(c)3 organization, EAST is powering along on its mission to further expand recreation opportunities in the area. EAST is aligning community needs  with economic development goals, attracting new residents and supporting local businesses. Plans include designing 10 miles of bike-optimized trails, some reachable from right inside Elkins. This trail expansion benefits both residents and visitors, promoting accessible outdoor recreation in downtown Elkins and fostering economic growth.

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EAST Marks Trails Progress in First Year

 

2. TIF Application Approved

In early 2023, City of Elkins received approval for its Tax Increment Financing (TIF) application, a significant step toward funding crucial projects when alternative financing is unavailable. TIF, a state-created mechanism, reserves future property tax revenue increases for local use without raising tax rates. Up to $25 million in TIF revenues over the next 30 years can be used to enhance business activity, fuel population growth, and increase property values in Elkins and beyond. The approval signifies a promising future for the entire Randolph County community.

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TIF Application Approved

 

3. 2023 Election Results

The 2023 Elkins Municipal Election was the first election in the city’s history that was not held in March, as a result of the 2021 charter change. Held in June instead, the 2023 election also saw the first time an Elkins mayor was elected to a four-year term instead of a two-year term. Four new council members joined six sitting colleagues. Elkins elections are non-partisan and are managed by the city, separate from partisan statewide and nationwide elections.

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2023 Election Results

 

4. Elkins Using State Grant Funds to Demolish Properties

Elkins successfully initiated the demolition of four dilapidated structures using state grant funds during 2023, part of a broader project continuing into 2024 targeting up to nine condemned buildings. Governor Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection approved $9.2 million in grant funding in September 2022 to aid municipalities in removing cost-prohibitive dilapidated structures. Elkins, awarded $300,000 under the Dilapidated Properties Program (DLAP) in June 2022, joined twenty-two other towns and cities in the pilot phase. The initiative, empowered by the 2021 Senate Bill 368, enabled the removal of unsafe buildings, protecting property values and stimulating economic development. Mayor Jerry Marco emphasized the transformative impact, marking positive strides in revitalizing the community and making neighborhoods more attractive and safe.

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Elkins Using State Grant Funds to Demolish Properties

 

5. Elkins Council Approves Hourly Employee Compensation Plan

Elkins Common Council approved a compensation plan for hourly General Fund and Sanitation Fund employees, addressing critical role shortages and employee retention challenges. The new plan involves pay increases for most hourly employees and eliminates the existing “step and grade” compensation system. The administrative team worked to establish a minimum starting wage of $14 per hour to enhance the city’s competitiveness in recruiting. The changes, retroactively applied from September 3, represent an annual investment of approximately $300,000. The move aims to balance proportionality and sustainability while providing a boost to the city’s workforce and addressing recruitment hurdles.

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Elkins Council Approves Hourly Employee Compensation Plan

 

6. Elkins Wastewater System Expanding Use of Geographic Data

The Elkins Wastewater Department is enhancing its operations by expanding the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) data through recently acquired tools and applications funded by ARPA. This move signifies a shift from traditional reliance on paper maps and employee knowledge to digital mapping for real-time, user-friendly insights. The GIS Department, established in 2021, collaborates with Region VII Planning and Development Council for support, eliminating the need for a full-time GIS technician. With ARPA funds, new equipment and software enable water, wastewater, and other city employees to efficiently collect and utilize GIS data in the field, improving the mapping of underground infrastructure components. This advancement, supported by ARPA, enhances the city’s efficiency, modernizes infrastructure, and facilitates better data accessibility for the public. The introduction of GIS technology streamlines processes, updates information in real-time, and reduces the operational burden on the city’s teams.

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Elkins Wastewater System Expanding Use of Geographic Data

 

7. Council Accepts $950k for Street Camera Program

Elkins Common Council has accepted $950,000 in federal funds earmarked for the Elkins Police Department’s street camera program. This initiative involves installing approximately 75 street cameras, outfitting all EPD vehicles with dashboard cameras, and implementing related public safety technologies. The primary goal is to enhance the EPD’s evidence-gathering capabilities for crimes, traffic accidents, and the automatic detection of vehicles sought by law enforcement. The cameras, strategically placed in major city thoroughfares and points of interest, will not be monitored live but will aid investigations retrospectively. The initiative aligns with similar systems in use across West Virginia cities, emphasizing a careful balance between privacy and public safety. Chief Travis Bennett highlights the proactive nature of the project in preparing for challenges associated with Elkins’ designation as a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and the anticipated increase in drug and human trafficking with the completion of Corridor H. The comprehensive camera program aims to enhance accountability, safety, and readiness for emerging regional trends.

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Council Accepts $950k for Street Camera Program

 

8. Athletic Spirit Meets Community Service: D&E Students at Elkins City Hall

Over 200 athletic students from Davis & Elkins College’s athletics department demonstrated their community spirit at Elkins City Hall in a notable community service initiative. The event showcased the strong connection between the college and the city, emphasizing the integral role students play in the community. Director of Athletics, Patrick Snively, expressed gratitude for the significant turnout, and Mayor Jerry Marco, an alumnus of the college, welcomed the students with a heartfelt speech, emphasizing the importance of Elkins being a home for the students. The students actively participated in city cleanup activities, contributing to the beautification of Elkins and fostering a sense of civic responsibility among the college community. The event was attended by city officials, further highlighting the collaborative efforts for community welfare.

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Athletic Spirit Meets Community Service: D&E Students at Elkins City Hall

 

9. Explore the Charm of Greater Elkins: A Community and Business Guide

Experience the charm of Elkins, West Virginia, with the “Greater Elkins” community and business guide. This collaborative effort by The Elkins-Randolph County Chamber, Randolph County Development Authority, and Elkins Main Street provides an in-depth look at the vibrant community’s unique offerings. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Elkins boasts thriving local businesses, cultural activities, outdoor adventures, and more. The guide showcases the town’s small-town charm coupled with the amenities of a larger city, featuring attractions, construction projects, festivals, land development plans, and the natural beauty of the area.

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Explore the Charm of Greater Elkins: A Community and Business Guide

 

10. Elkins Mayor Proclaims the City as “Elfkins” for the Month of December

In a festive proclamation, the Mayor of Elkins officially declared downtown Elkins as “Elfkins” for the month of December. The initiative, titled “A Merry Mountain Christmas in Elfkins,” aims to infuse the community with holiday magic and bring people together during this special season. The month-long celebration included a Christmas Parade, followed by the Christmas Tree Lighting at the Elkins Depot Welcome Center, featuring a special visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Embrace the enchantment of Elfkins and join the community in celebrating the joyous spirit of the holiday season.

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Elkins Mayor Proclaims the City as “Elfkins” for the Month of December

Categories:

Article
Article, Events, Press Release

New Bookstore and Event Center Coming to Elkins

Elkins is welcoming a literary haven with the grand opening of Alexandria on Main on March 2, 2024. Situated at 119 3rd Street, this new bookstore and event space promises to enrich the community’s cultural landscape, as highlighted in a recent press […]

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Article, Police Department, Press Release

Caleb Elmore Joins the Elkins Police Department

Elkins W. Va., February 13, 2024: Caleb Elmore was sworn in as a Probationary Police Officer for the Elkins Police Department on Monday, February 12, 2024. He completed civil service testing in November and will begin training with the police department before […]

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Article, Press Release

Proclamation Declares February 7-14, 2024 as Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week

Elkins W. Va., February 5, 2024: In an effort to raise awareness and promote understanding of congenital heart disease (CHD), Mayor Jerry Marco has officially proclaimed the week of February 7-14, 2024, as Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week. This significant declaration aims […]

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Article, Press Release

Elkins Mayor Extends Heartfelt Congratulations to Zan White on His Remarkable 100th Birthday

Elkins W. Va., February 5, 2024: Mayor Jerry Marco made a special visit on Saturday, February 3, to extend his warmest congratulations to local resident Zan White, who celebrated his 100th birthday on February 2. The mayor, along with friends and family, […]

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Article, Press Release

Mayor Jerry Marco Honors Municipal Judge Robert “Bob” Jones for Decades of Public Service

Elkins W. Va., January 26, 2024: Mayor Jerry Marco presented a commendation plaque to Municipal Judge Robert “Bob” Jones during a recent council meeting, recognizing his longstanding service to the community. Judge Jones served on the Elkins Common Council from 1983 to […]

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Announcements, Article, Downtown

Explore the Charm of Greater Elkins: A Community and Business Guide

Nestled in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Elkins, West Virginia, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. The “Greater Elkins” initiative, a collaborative effort by The Elkins-Randolph County Chamber, Randolph County Development Authority, and Elkins Main Street, aims to showcase […]

Read More
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