Photo Courtesy: Stacy Nelson | The Clendenin Leader

By: Mark Burdette | Posted: Feb. 16, 2018

CLENDENIN, WEST VIRGINIA (The Clendenin Leader) – The Clendenin Planning Commission held their third meeting on Thursday, February 15, 2018, at 6:30 PM at the Recreation Building located beside Town Hall, in Clendenin, West Virginia. The meeting was facilitated by Jesse Richardson from WVU Law along with James Young (FEMA), Philip Maramba (FEMA), Julie Alston (WV HUD), Lorna Rosenberg (EPA), and Dr. Terry Polen (WV DEP) were in attendance.

After the minutes from the January 23, 2018 Planning Commission meeting were approved, Lorna Rosenberg, sustainable advisor from EPA, joined via phone conference from Philadelphia to discuss sustainable community programs that focus on local food, health, broadband, and Main Street. She discussed a focused approach to target sustainable actions to help Clendenin move forward to become more health resilient and to improve the economic resiliency. She went on to discuss that because Clendenin is a community that was affected by the flood, there will be an opportunity to focus and target a discussion and action plan around initiatives that have been created to improve the community. EPA and FEMA will facilitate a two-day workshop sometime in April or May, which will include experts from various agencies, to address specific topics and flood resiliency. Prior to this meeting, an action plan will need to be created, which should include targeted action items, along with funding information.

Mayor Shana Clendenin indicated that housing is still an issue in town and throughout the surrounding area. The mayor also added that the Kanawha County Long Term Recovery Committee and WV VOAD have done an exceptional job in residential recovery but there are still needs that need to be met. The Town of Clendenin is still struggling with business recruitment and business retention. Infrastructure is still a concern, especially wastewater treatment. According to Mayor Clendenin tourism is her primary focus right now centered around Elk River and Rails to Trails. The Town of Clendenin just applied for a TAP grant through WV Dept. of Highways for a complete streetscape of Main Street to beautify the area. Announcement of whether Clendenin will receive grant will be sometime in the fall later this year.

Kevin Clendenin, President of the Clendenin Planning Commission and Fire Chief for the Clendenin Volunteer Fire Dept., echoed many of the infrastructure challenges that the Town of Clendenin faces. Clendenin said, “We need businesses with stable jobs and need to broaden our footprint with utilities. Historically, utilities were run along the river and weren’t developed towards the interstate or residential areas like Reamer, who doesn’t have fire hydrants or city water. Less than a mile from where you’re sitting there are people drawing well water still today. We need to identify grants that can help develop our utilities.”

According to Mayor Clendenin upgrades to sewer, water and all drains in town are very much needed. The last project done on drains was the late 1990s. Dr. Terry Polen with WV DEP suggested putting a plan and process together to apply for a grant with the WV Water Development Authority could be an option to improve infrastructure needs in the town. James Young with FEMA said a mitigation grant can provide monies to upgrade infrastructure for stormwater, however, not much can be done at this point for much-needed maintenance on existing issues due to missing deadlines.

Listen to the full audio of the Clendenin Planning Commission meeting above to hear more about what is being done to revitalize the Town of Clendenin.