Create Huntington strives for urban renewal

The City of Huntington is known for many of its historical structures: The Keith-Albee Theater, The Frederick Hotel Building and even Marshall’s own Old Main. For some residents of the community, preserving the city’s historical structures is a priority.

Create Huntington, an organization formed with hopes to improve the Huntington community, hosted one of its discussion-based meetings, “Chat & Chew,” Thursday at the historic Frederick Hotel.

The discussion was based on the topic of urban renewal in the city, along with the preservation of historical structures. Chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority and former city councilman John Short facilitated the discussion.

“When I was on city council, in my particular district, District 9, which is Guyandotte and Altizer, being the oldest part of Huntington, we have a lot of homes,” Short said. “Some have been restored, some have not. That’s really the subject matter. I believe in inviting people to a discussion and that’s how a lot of great ideas come. I also like the fact that we should share between generations.”

Those in attendance expressed their desire to connect with the younger generations in efforts to restore and renew Huntington. Member of the Madie Carroll House Preservation Society’s Board of Directors Karen Nance expressed that restoration of these historical buildings requires passion, and a little bit of an imagination.

The Madie Carroll House Preservation Society, according to their mission statement, aims “to inspire and develop a knowledge of, an appreciation for, and a pride in the artistic, historic and architectural wealth of the Historic Madie Carroll House and surrounding communities.”

“You have to be able to see through it all — to see what it could be, [to see] what it was,” Nance said.

While residents like Nance are impacting the community by restoring historic buildings, Short stressed that young people are vital to the growth and restoration of the city. The Urban Renewal Authority sells properties through the land bank, and he encouraged Marshall students to look into investing.

“Come invest in Huntington. Rather than paying rent to some landlord, why don’t you help Huntington and Marshall and all of us by coming in and maybe adopting one of our historic homes and work on it,” Short said.

Franklin Norton can be contacted at [email protected]