The West End – WestEdge Factory
The WestEdge Factory is a 96,000 square foot abandoned clothing factory located in Westmoreland neighborhood of Huntington. It was purchased in 2014 by Coalfield Development Corporation to house its many operations that hire and train unemployed people. Coalfield incubates and grows a family of social enterprises in economic fields it believes have the potential to diversify the regional economy and create good jobs. Chosen fields need to have triple-bottom- line value (people, planet, profit). Current enterprises include: deconstruction of buildings; construction; woodworking; upcycling materials reclaimed from deconstruction jobs; urban agriculture; solar energy training; WECAN Business Support Center; and wholesale and retail sales of reclaimed woods and architectural salvage.
Each enterprise has a president who is the entrepreneur responsible for its success and is staffed by work crews according to the 33-6- 3 model. As a result, these new economic fields, the entrepreneurs pioneering them, the crew members working within them and the region hosting them can develop toward full potential. Individuals in the training program are hired onto work crews that staff the Coalfield’s social enterprises. Each week, crewmembers complete 33 hours of paid work, 6 credit hours of higher education and 3 hours of personal development mentorship. At the end of a two-year contract, crew members have gained invaluable work experience and work skills, earned an associate degree and gained clarity on life goals, as well as personal assets to attain those goals.
To date, over 6 million dollars has been raised from a variety of federal sources such as the EDA, USDA, and the ARC, national foundations and corporations, loans and local philanthropy for these initiatives.
The WestEdge Factory encompasses the following initiatives, all of which are catalytic in nature:
- A major remodeling and restoration of the abandoned factory including both exterior and interior renovation, complete reworking of electric, plumbing and HVAC for the facility, a new roof, creative of specifically designed spaces for each social enterprise, construction of live/work studios for artisans, community space, a blackbox theater, a parking lot and landscaping.
- Establishment of dedicated, well-designed and conditioned spaces as homes for each of the social enterprises.
- Develop a work team of Westmoreland residents and businesses to engage in long term planning for the area
- Reduction of crime and increase in property values in the Westmoreland neighborhood
- Creation of paying jobs for trainees and enterprise presidents.
- Development of a trained workforce with associates degrees.
MOST RECENT PROGRESS
The West End – River To Rail
The River to Rail Project is an effort to revitalize the West End of Huntington and the Old Central City Business District working through a multi-stakeholder group of residents, businesses, government agencies and organizations. The vision encompasses both community and economic development as well as the development of a tourism economy.
Key initiatives involve the following:
- Creation of a master revitalization plan for the West End
- Creation of a Main Street America program focused on West Huntington neighborhood main street, 14th Street West
- Revitalizing 14th Street West utilizing the concepts of creative placemaking by building on the existing Old Central City Antique District, expanding public art, providing support for entrepreneurs and establishment of an arts or historic district
- Expanding production and community access to local food building on the existing assets of The Wild Ramp and the Central City Market
- Adaptive reuse or redevelopment of existing vacant or underutilized industrial property
- Developing a supportive system for entrepreneurs interested in starting a business in the West End
- Increasing recreation and community spaces connected through the PATH and existing parks
- Advancing both small and large infrastructure development