HUB spurs economic diversification

By Terry Bartley - Civitas Media

MADISON, W.Va. — The citizens of Madison are creating change. Just under two months ago, the IAS program, organized by The Hub, held a community meeting to guide citizens in developing methods for economic diversification.

The citizens were divided up into four economic sectors, Arts and Culture, Manufacturing, Recreation and Tourism and Retail and Small Business. These teams have met up two times now. Kandi Workman, from the Arts and Culture team, said she believes this will be good for the area.

“It is great seeing everyone so excited about helping Madison,” Workman said, “I’m really excited to see what we can do to expand The Arts in Madison and Boone County.”

Every team seems to be taking a different approach to economic diversification. Workman said the Arts and Culture team are approaching it from an expansion approach. The team is currently working to create three new teams focusing on different aspects of Arts and Culture. Currently they are working to create groups dedicated to Photography, Filmmaking and Writing.

“Our plan right now is to create three to four of these teams every quarter, so in a year we should end up with anywhere from nine to twelve new groups working to create art in the county,” Workman said.

The Retail and Small Business team are also looking at innovative ways to grow their sector. At their most recent meeting they discussed plans to create a food court-like restaurant that would allow potential restaurant owners to try out their business idea in a much more low risk setting.

Dan Taylor, the director of the IAS program, said this is what the IAS program is all about.

“In order for this program to work, we need community engagement, like what we’ve seen in Madison,” Taylor said, “We provide the tools and they come up with the ideas.”

Taylor said he is happy to see this level of dedication from the teams in Madison and he hopes to attract more active citizens at the next Madison, IAS meeting, on Thursday, September 1 at 6 p.m. at the Madison Baptist Church.

“Our teams have been working hard these past couple of months, but it’s never too late to join. The more people and time the community dedicates to this kind of work, the more results we’ll see after the one year program,” Taylor said.

By Terry Bartley

Civitas Media

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