Mayoral Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Marks OVEC’s New Presence in Old Central City

Contact: Janet Keating, 304-522-0246 or janet@ohvec.org
Natalie Thompson, 304-522-0246 or natalie@ohvec.org

HUNTINGTON, W.VA. — On November 7, members and supporters of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition gathered to celebrate the group’s new and remodeled office space with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, office tours, live music and refreshments.

Huntington Mayor Stephen T. Williams officiated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For the past 17 years, OVEC’s headquarters has been a 750-square-foot second-floor apartment on 14th St. West, in Huntington’s Old Central City. During that time, the staff has doubled and volunteer ranks have increased. Quarters were cramped.

When a downstairs storefront tenant moved out, the landlord offered the building to OVEC, and the group purchased it in February. Renovations began this summer, carried out by Coalfield Development Corporation, a local not-for-profit that provides on-the-job training for area young adults, unemployed miners and others.

Last week, to prepare for the open house and to join in efforts to beautify Old Central City, OVEC board members and staff planted pansies and ornamental cabbages in a large brick planter outside the building.

OVEC Executive Director Janet Keating says, “We are thrilled to have first-floor space. That will make our offices more accessible and visible. As we move into our expanded workplace, we’ll be better equipped to support the needs of the communities we serve.”

“With the purchase of our Old Central City building, we now have space to provide Marshall University students with internship opportunities,” says OVEC Project Coordinator Natalie Thompson. “We have a place for volunteers and for other community groups to meet. Now, with a first-floor door and windows, we will be more transparent in our work to educate our neighbors and friends about our concerns for protecting, if not saving, the Appalachia that we love.”

The group remodeled with energy efficiency measures in mind. The building features UV-protected, energy-efficient windows; LED lighting throughout; a tankless water heater; recycled lumber cabinets; recycled lumber countertops; an energy-efficient HVAC and low-flow faucets. Hemlock countertops in the space were salvaged from a deconstructed building in Huntington. New electrical wiring will support solar panels in the future.

For their help in the remodeling and renovation, OVEC extends deep thanks to:

  • Coalfield Development Corporation;
    •           Huntington-based sustainable architect and local food activist Katharine Lea, who designed the space pro bono;
    •           Dawn Norman at Automated Mailing for letting staff store equipment and use her office space while their own space was under construction;
    •           Custom Heating and Cooling;
    •           WV Electric Supply Company;
    •           Independent electrical contractor David Ward;
    •           Real Estate Rehab LLC;
    •           Larry E. Asbury;
    •           Brand Yourself, and
    •           Perennial Favorites LLC.

OVEC is in the midst of a fundraising campaign — Together We Grow — to help pay for the building’s energy-efficient renovations and furnishings.

One donor to the campaign is former Huntington Mayor Bobby Nelson, who says, “I give financial contributions to the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition because I think it is very important to support locally based groups that work for positive changes in our state and region. I will continue to support this group because they do good work, preserving a better environment for all of us, and I urge others to do the same.”

The group has raised more than $20,000 toward their $60,000 goal. Donations, earmarked “Together We Grow” may be made online at ohvec.org/join or via mail:

Attn.: Maryanne Graham
OVEC
P.O. Box 6753
Huntington, WV 25773-6753

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