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Wheeling residents offer their opinion on local economy

A group of West Virginia University researchers and the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce are conducting a survey asking local residents for their input on the future of Wheeling’s economy.

The research survey, which can be accessed at bber.wvu.edu (click the button labeled “Wheeling Strategic Plan Survey”) is designed to inform the development of a Wheeling Area Strategic Plan. Survey questions seek information about regional characteristics, development, education, land use and local initiatives. There are also specific questions for business owners, government officials and community leaders. The results of the survey will be combined with research reports and stakeholder interviews to create the regional strategic plan. Survey data collection will continue through Aug. 31.

The strategic plan has been under development for nearly a year by the WVU Extension Service and the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). It is funded by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We are happy to partner with the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce to provide an in-depth examination of the economic strengths and weaknesses of the Wheeling and to ultimately work to develop a strategic plan to help guide economic development efforts in the area moving forward,” said John Deskins, Director of the BBER. “We are optimistic that these efforts will help Wheeling fulfill its economic potential in the long-run.”

The plan aims to provide specific, actionable proposals to improve the economic development of the Wheeling region. It will help the region address recent opportunities such as the approval of the Ethane Cracker Plan in Belmont County, and challenges, such as the closure of the Ohio Valley Medical Center. This will benefit the region by helping define a direction for future development activities.

“I would just like to thank WVU Bureau of Economic Research for the time and effort put into this project,” said Erikka Storch, President of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce. “I encourage everyone to participate in the survey to provide them with the most accurate information, so they can continue this work.”

Participants will be asked for your opinion on the future direction and preferred development activities for the region. The survey is designed for those who live in or have interest in an eight-county area around Wheeling. It will take less than 10 minutes to complete the survey.

Participation in this project is completely voluntary. Any question can be skipped and the survey can be stopped at any time. Involvement in this project will be kept as confidential as legally possible. All data will be reported in the aggregate. No question asks a respondent to identify themselves directly; only information on the county location and type of respondent will be collected. The West Virginia University Institutional Review Board acknowledgement of this project is on file.

For information about this research project, contact Michael Dougherty at 304-293-2559 or mdoerty@wvu.edu. For information about rights as a research participant, contact the WVU Office of Human Research Protection at 304-293-7073 or IRB@mail.wvu.edu.

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