Historic downtowns are making a comeback and proving to be centers of growth and hubs for business development, the arts, and social activities. The people at Main Street Morgantown realized the potential of downtown revitalization decades ago, and that is why we are honored them with the Downtown Preservation Award.
Main Street Morgantown is a nonprofit organization founded in 1984. It is dedicated to the continued revitalization of downtown Morgantown and the Historic Wharf District. Since 1984, Main Street Morgantown has been involved in the creation of 1300 new jobs, the opening of more than 200 new businesses, and over $126 million dollars in investments. It is a grassroots organization working primarily in the areas of historic preservation and economic development, and it has received numerous local, state, and national awards, including the Great American Main Street Award in 1998.
Main Street Morgantown has worked on many historic preservation projects over the years. Tonight, we will highlight some of its proudest achievements. The Main Street Morgantown Audio Walking Tour was created in collaboration with the Walkabout Company. It is a two-hour audio walking tour with 51 stops, and it can be travelled with the use of MP3 players available at our current venue, the Hotel Morgan. It also includes a 28 page guidebook which explains architectural styles and terms referring to the historical and political period in which the buildings were built.
Main Street Morgantown has also been involved in the preservation and adaptive re-use of historic buildings in downtown Morgantown. The W.E. Price House located at 270 Walnut Street is a Romanesque Gothic Style structure. As a downtown economic development organization, Main Street Morgantown helped to move the Appalachian Gallery into this building.
The Metropolitan Theatre at 371 High Street is one of the greatest achievements for Morgantown’s downtown revitalization. With the help of Main Street Morgantown, the theatre has been restored and is a hot spot for nightlife and an economic engine for downtown growth.
The driving forces behind Main Street Morgantown are its two key staff members: Barbara Watkins and Terri Cutright. Barbara Watkins started with Main Street Morgantown in 2002 as the Administrative Assistant. She was promoted to the Assistant Director of Main Street Morgantown in April 2009. During this time Barbara has helped Main Street Morgantown triple its event attendance for Chocolate Lovers’ Day, Kids’ Day and Arts Walk. She has helped create two new events: Art is Food and Small Business Saturday. Terri Cutright has been Executive Director of Main Street Morgantown since April, 1990. Under her leadership, Morgantown was the winner of the Great American Main Street Award in 1998, and was selected as one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Dozen Distinctive Destination in 2007. Since 1991, Morgantown is the most decorated Main Street program in West Virginia with over 75 individual, committee, and project awards. Under Terri’s direction, the Morgantown Main Street District has had over $75 million dollars of reinvestments, 216 new businesses open, and 1,500 new jobs created.