Any redevelopment scenario will start with demolishing the existing Wheeling Inn, immediately adjacent to the iconic historic suspension bridge. This move alone will transform the future gateway into the City of Wheeling from the Interstate 70 corridor by providing unprecedented views of the historic suspension bridge and the Ohio River. A new visitor and heritage experience will be incorporated into the new site.
“West Virginia had a record year for tourism in 2022, with an economic impact exceeding $7 Billion, and Ohio County received over $388 million in visitor spending according to the reports released by the state,” said Frank O’Brien, executive director of the Wheeling-Ohio County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The whole region wishes to provide all who come to Wheeling with a unique, world-class experience, so we’ve received so much participation and support from Ohio County, the City of Wheeling, and the Regional Economic Development Partnership(REDP).”
Scott Schenerlein, executive director of Wheeling Heritage, added, “We think visitors will be thrilled with the experiences we wish to create to celebrate our region’s heritage. We must also integrate other amenities that people truly want to have to support the Visitors and Heritage Center, which is why all of our project stakeholders care so deeply about the input we receive from the general public.”
The official launch of the Wheeling Gateway Changemaker Hub will provide an opportunity for both locals and visitors to share their ideas and inspirational photography through the digital interface, which can be accessed at wheelinggateway.tippingpointdev.com.
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Those who access the site are invited to complete a brief digital survey, interact with a photo library, and vote on their favorites with likes and comments, which is part of the broader effort of the development team to capture potential experiences residents and future visitors wish to have incorporated into the overall design. Users are also encouraged to upload their photos if they do not find an image that inspires them.
“We believe all projects have transformational impacts on their community and deserve an innovative, thorough community engagement experience to ensure everyone is aligned as we move forward. This site is unique, and we appreciate that the project stakeholders trusted Tipping Point and our web/marketing team, BAM Advertising, to build this prototype,” said Jim Ambrose, President of Tipping Point.
The proposed Gateway Center is one of the most crucial strategic redevelopment sites for the region and the State of West Virginia to further economic growth through tourism, given the site’s proximity to the 1-70 corridor.
The survey will remain open until February 22, 2024. The project stakeholder team will analyze the responses expeditiously and unveil the final results through a community event at the Capitol Theatre tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, February 28 at 5 p.m. Attendees will also be able to provide additional input into the site’s design and will receive crucial project updates. All insights gathered will guide decision-making for uses and experiences to complement the Visitors and Heritage Center.