KEYSER - A cleaner town, more activities at the existing parks, better promotion of events, and more people getting involved were among the top suggestions offered to help make Keyser more welcoming to both visitors and those looking to locate a home in the area.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - A cleaner town, more activities at the existing parks, better promotion of events, and more people getting involved were among the top suggestions offered to help make Keyser more welcoming to both visitors and those looking to locate a home in the area.
The ideas were offered Tuesday afternoon during the first of two meetings held by WVU Medicine Potomac Valley Hospital and the WVU Extension Service to discuss what steps can be taken to showcase what Keyser has to offer to prospective businesses and residents.
Melanie Winfield, representing PVH, told the group gathered Tuesday afternoon that as she works to recruit more health professionals into the area, two “huge issues” have arisen - the lack of activities for families and a shortage of housing.
The two discussions - a second one was held Tuesday evening and was open to the general community - stemmed from a presentation by Michael Daugherty and Daniel Eades of WVU, who were instrumental in bringing the First Impressions Program team to Keyser this past summer.
The team’s task was to take note of the positive and negative impressions which greet a first-time visitor to Keyser.
One of the positives they found was the existence of several parks, but the group attending Tuesday’s meetings felt that those parks are either under-utilized or in need of expansion.
Pastor John Johnston said when he and his family were looking to move to Keyser, one of the first things they noticed was “the park issue.
“You call it a park, but I call it a piece of ground with a swing set on it,” he said, adding the desire to have more developed parks with a bigger variety of offerings.
The group expressed the need for additional walking trails and other activities at the parks, noting that the “Keyser on the Move” program which marks off three different walking trails throughout the city has several issues, including unleashed dogs and broken sidewalks.
One person at the meeting mentioned the potential for more things to do at Mill Meadow.
The landscaping in the downtown business district was also mentioned as an area that needs sprucing up. It was suggested that additional flowers could be planted around the trees on the little islands on Main Street, and that the many empty storefronts could be used for various displays, especially for the holidays.
As with any long-term project, the need for volunteers to help with these projects was mentioned, and Daugherty suggested that each person attending Tuesday’s meeting bring a friend to the next meeting, scheduled for Dec. 2.
Daugherty also told the group there may be some small chunks of funding available through the First Impressions Program to assist with some of the projects.
The key to getting some of the projects done, however, he said, is to come up with an action plan based on the results of the ongoing discussions.
The First Impressions Program has worked with over 70 communities in West Virginia, and Daugherty said 67 percent of those communities “have said there were real improvements” to the city as a result.