Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Newly-Elected Officials Share Plans for Huntington

The+Huntington+Municipal+Building
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
The Huntington Municipal Building

The newly-elected Huntington City Council chair and vice-chair are optimistic that the council will further efforts to give Huntington a more student-friendly atmosphere.

Attorney Sarah Walling was elected chair on Monday, Jan. 8, and will serve for the remainder of the year.

Walling, who represents District 4, said she is particularly proud of the City Council’s efforts to encourage business growth.

It is “important to help businesses grow,” Walling said.

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One way the City Council has encouraged the growth of businesses in Huntington is by creating the
Public Outdoor Designated Area.

The PODA “allows restaurants and bars to become licensed to sell PODA cups and for folks to stroll downtown and enjoy a beverage and shop at the shops,” Walling said.

Walling also discussed “Plan2025,” the city’s current strategic plan, as well as the ongoing creation of “Plan2035,” the city’s next strategic plan.

As a member of Huntington’s planning commission, Walling has been “pretty integrally involved” in
creating Plan2035.

She shared her priorities for the plan, saying that she “would really like to see a push towards stronger regulations on landlord-tenant relationships” as well as ensuring available and affordable housing.

“That, to me, is the real priority: making sure that people can make a living and live in a place that is
comfortable and safe and secure. However, we can encourage and promote that,” Walling said.

Holly Smith-Mount, registered nurse and director of patient experience for Mountain Health Network, was elected vice-chair on Jan. 8.

Smith-Mount, the representative for District 6, said she is proud of the City Council’s work to further diversity and inclusion in Huntington.

“I feel like we’ve done a few things over the past couple of years that have been really important in that arena, making sure our city is open to all,” Smith-Mount said.

She highlighted the city’s non-discrimination ordinance and how the city’s Human Relations Commission has passed resolutions relating to the ordinance.

“We’ve done things like resolutions, denouncing hate based on religion such as antisemitism. We
tackled conversion therapy and made that part of our non-discrimination ordinance, and then, we also added to it with protective hairstyles as well,” Smith-Mount said.

Smith-Mount said Marshall students should pay attention to Plan2035, specifically the planned improvements to Huntington’s walkability.

One of the plan’s focus areas is the Highlawn neighborhood, specifically around where Marshall’s new baseball stadium is located.

“That whole piece of property is being reclaimed, and it’s going to grow over the next few years,” Smith-Mount said.

On the other side of campus, Smith-Mount referenced the “stunning” recent upgrades near
Marshall in the Old Main corridor.

She said the Old Main corridor, which consists of 4th Avenue between Hal Greer Boulevard and 6th Street, is being upgraded to connect Marshall to downtown.

“To watch that area grow to connect Marshall to downtown and Marshall to Highlawn, I think those
are really important things to watch from a campus perspective,” Smith-Mount said.

Walling also highlighted the growth of areas near campus as a major positive for the city.

“I want you guys to want to stay here. I want to build a city that’s a place that you want to live,” she
said.

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