Our rural community of Linwood is at the foot of the largest ski resort in the Mid-Atlantic area. This part of Appalachia is scenic, serene and very rural. Pocahontas County is the 3rd largest county in WV per acre. With 8,700 people we are ranked the 8th smallest county in the state based on population. Linwood is located in the northern most part of this sparsely populated county. Living in this rural area is beautiful but difficult; obstacles include access to fresh fruits and vegetables, playgrounds, schools, childcare, transportation, and other common services and amenities. As our young community members begin families they are forced to leave the area due to the lack of resources for their children in Linwood.
The tourism industry is largest employer in our county. Snowshoe Mountain Resort relies heavily on this small county for its employees. The resort is forced to recruit employees from out of our state and even out of the United States to accommodate the influx of seasonal tourist. This cycle of temporary employees is not beneficial to anyone. Snowshoe Mountain Resort encourages our efforts of community improvement and development.
In the past three years our community has taken action to overcome the obstacles of rural living. With the opening of the Linwood Library at Snowshoe in 2010, expansion of Pocahontas County Farmers market to include a Friday market at Linwood Library in 2012, the opening of Linwood Community Daycare in 2013, and formation of the Pocahontas Trails Committee in 2013, it’s clear to see Linwood is ALIVE!
Our efforts continue to be focused on community stability and expansion with an emphasis on healthy living. Linwood Community Daycare (LCD) is working on expanding and adding a Pre-K program in partnership with the Board of Education for the fall of 2014. The daycares partnership with Keys4Healthy Kids has gained us access to a landscape designer that specializes in Natural learning Initiatives, free of charge. NLI designers create environments for healthy human development and a healthy biosphere for generations to come. Three Trees Design and Landscaping is currently working on our playground plans, which includes cutting edge components such as an edible garden, apple tree fencing, and hands on butterfly learned center. We are currently negotiating with Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation for partial funding for this project.
In addition to a playground for the community, daycare and tourist to use we are working on the construction of a multi-use pavilion that would become the home of many events, activities, and family picnics. Most importantly the pavilion will provide a formal setting for our farmers market. We hope to increase availability of fresh foods as well support locally grown foods being the main source of produce for the daycare and some local restaurants. We have received support for our pavilion project from community Member donations, fundraisers, The Snowshoe Foundation, Tucker Community Foundation, and the Pocahontas County Commissions.
Our estimated expenses for the pavilion project are approximately $30,000, so we are almost there! To reduce costs and maximize our budget we are working with multiple local contractors for a variety of services as well as Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity. Since the pavilion will be constructed on Snowshoe Mountain Resort Property, we are finishing up a shared use agreement that give Linwood ALIVE! a 25 year lease on the property.
Linwood ALIVE! is committed to growing our community and making it sustainable. Future plans include walking trails, bike trails, increased activities, increased resources for families, affordable housing for year round residence, a primary school for our children, and other resources that most communities take for granted.