Category Archives: Volunteer Committee

PRO: a member of WV ON TRAC

A few weeks have passed since our last blog post.  The weather has begun to get a bit more like spring, and Parsons ON TRAC is in the process of undergoing a bit of a change.  After consulting with the state ON TRAC office and several members of both organizations, Parsons ON TRAC is going to merge with the Parsons Revitalization Organization (PRO) so that the people and resources of each group can work together towards the goal of revitalizing the city of Parsons.

What does this merge mean to you?  Well, absolutely nothing has changed regarding either groups’ mission.  The goal of both remains bringing people and businesses into Parsons, maintaining and improving the appearance of buildings and storefronts in downtown, and working with local groups on community development projects.  By working as one, PRO and ON TRAC has access to the experience of PRO (established and active since 2001) and the state resources of ON TRAC (including membership in the West Virginia Non-Profit Association, GrantStation, and participation in statewide training).  Combining these resources will allow PRO/ON TRAC to do more and reach more people.

There are two big changes about PRO/ON TRAC.  One is the name.  PRO/ON TRAC is a bit unwieldy.  To simplify things, we are going to work on phasing out the use of “ON TRAC” in the main title of the organization.  There are several reasons for this.  ON TRAC is an acronym created by the state that stands for Organization, Training, Revitalization, and Capacity.  This acronym does not have anything to do with the city of Parsons and is hard to explain to new members – ON stands for Organization?  In this case, yes.  As you can see – it is not that clear.  Also, the label ON TRAC does not have a local connection with the town like PRO does.  This is our organization – not the state’s.  While the state gives assistance, we want to promote the fact that it is the people of Parsons, people living right here (not in Charleston), that will be doing the work to improve Parsons’s downtown.  Many ON TRAC communities throughout the state have dropped the ON TRAC from their names in order to emphasize the local community’s ownership of their organization.  For example, Wheeling’s ON TRAC program is called Downtown Wheeling, Inc.  Parkersburg’s ON TRAC organization is called Downtown PKB.  This change will take some getting used to, but we believe it is the right thing for the organization in order to help it move forward and take initiative on local projects.

In order to explain it better, we are working with a few phrases that describe how PRO and ON TRAC are connected, as follows:

Parsons Revitalization Organization (PRO) represents the community development and downtown revitalization efforts Parsons, a West Virginia ON TRAC community.

PRO is a member a West Virginia ON TRAC.

The second big change is the implementation of the Main Street Four Point Approach.  Past blog posts have described the four ON TRAC volunteer committees: Organization, Economic Restructuring, Design, and Promotions.  This division of PRO into committees will make it easier for members to work on projects that they feel deeply about.  For example, one of the projects that the Organization committee is working on is the maintenance of the Tucker County Bank Building.  This committee has commissioned a new front step (to replace the old one) and will oversee its installation.  The Promotions committee is working on several projects with ArtSpring (the annual county-wide High Mountain Arts festival), including organizing and overseeing an exhibit in Heritage House during the Memorial Day arts festival.  By dividing into committees, members of PRO and volunteers can decide what they want to work on and focus on it.  Meetings will be shortened and made more efficient.  Instead of one meeting that must tackle issues ranging from building insurance to event planning to administrative tasks to marketing to business strategies, each committee will meet on its own time and work out issues as they individually apply.  If you have any questions about the committees, would like to figure out which one is right for you, or anything else about this new change, please email or give us a call at 304.478.6009.  We would love to answer any questions that you may have.

Another change with PRO is the implementation of a $5/year suggested member donation.  As discussed in our most recent meeting, this suggested donation will allow for the creation of an updated list of active members, making it much easier to keep members who are invested in projects informed.  We plan to provide a annual party or some kind of token for the public from these funds.

We recognize that these are some big changes.  But, they will help this organization  function more efficiently, increase its scope of work to the entire city of Parsons, and give members more freedom to work on projects they are truly passionate about.  Work plans for each committee outlining specific projects will be available in the beginning of April.  Change does not happen overnight.  Our Facebook page and or email address are still labeled Parsons ON TRAC, and it may take a while to incorporate all these changes across the many channels of communication we utilize.  We hope that you will accept the changes we are implementing and will be patient as the many aspects of this organization transform into what is best for the people of Parsons.

If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to email us at or give us a call at 304.478.6009.  Thank you for your understanding and continued support of revitalizing Parsons’s downtown!  Look for posts describing some of our new projects in the next few weeks.

The Economic Restructuring Committee: Business Developement

The last of our four volunteer committees is the Economic Restructuring Committee.  This group deals with the business aspect of downtown.  Members study the economic situation of Main Street and work to improve economic activity and building utilization.  It is the job of this committee to offer incentives to encourage businesses to move into the downtown area.  They also brainstorm ways to help improve use of buildings and public space that are vacant or struggling.  The Economic Restructuring Committee monitors activity in downtown and informs ON TRAC of what is working well and what could be improved.  By helping struggling businesses, considering alternative uses for vacant buildings, and working with the other ON TRAC committees to make a plan for downtown, the Economic Restructuring Committee works to improve the economic aspects of downtown.

Members of the Economic Restructuring Committee see what Main Street could be.  They see alternate uses for old buildings and spaces.  They have a good sense for business and care deeply for ON TRAC’s overall mission.

The Design Committee: Planning, Planning, Planning

To continue our series of posts describing our committees, here is the Design Committee.  Simply put, the Design Committee understands design.  This may seem redundant, but it is the simplest way to describe what this committee does.  This is the committee whose members know what physical improvements can be made to the downtown area to make it more accessible and more active.  They look at the building blocks of the town center and see bustling streets, retail stores, restaurants, and beautiful sidewalks and store fronts.  The Design Committee spreads its knowledge of design to business owners and community members so that they can take the initiative and create their own enhanced space.  Members of the Design Committee work with business owners and community members to provide assistance in creating quality and sustainable downtown areas.

Members of the Design Committee are visionaries, but they are also practical.  They truly understand the unique characteristics of Parsons and strive to create a downtown that reflects them.

The Promotion Committee: Spreading the Word

One of our other volunteer committees is the Promotion Committee.  Parsons ON TRAC’s Promotion Committee makes sure that the city of Parsons knows what is going on in its downtown.  Members of this committee know about the changing market and they understand how Main Street must compete in order to thrive.  This committee knows about the businesses in the downtown area, what kind of development has happened in the past, and what can happen in the future.  Promotions members know what makes Parsons unique and strive to emphasize key features in the downtown to help encourage economic evolution.  They create campaigns to bring people and businesses back into the downtown, and they define ON TRAC’s image in a way that clearly demonstrates its goals and visions for the future of the city of Parsons.

Members of the Promotion Committee are communicators.  They believe in ON TRAC’s mission and work on sharing that mission with the community.  Volunteers in this committee create the unique Parsons ON TRAC brand.

The Organization Committee: All About Structure

The Organization committee is the group that keeps ON TRAC focused on achieving its goal.  Members of this committee are fundraisers.  They work to foster community partnerships, coordinate volunteers, and make sure that all aspects of the organization are working together.  ON TRAC is all about the community, encouraging the support and involvement of all different kinds of organizations that together make up  Parsons: businesses, non-profits, charities, youth organizations, government factions, and more.  It is the main job of the Organization committee to keep all the people and groups under ON TRAC’s umbrella aware of what the other organizations are up to, manage finances, and keep members of ON TRAC aware of the job at hand.

In a nutshell, members of the Organization Committee are good communicators.  They are organized, believe in ON TRAC’s mission, and love working with people.