Nestled in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, charm and scenic beauty flowed in abundance through the town of Bath. Named for the warm springs dotting the community, Bath’s natural wonders spurred a resort community renowned for hospitality and outdoor recreation. A retirement haven in the West Virginia mountains, Bath attracted an aging population, but wanted to ensure that it appealed to residents and businesses of every age and stage.
When the Northside Depot neighborhood was identified as an area for reinvestment, Bath’s municipal leaders knew that a smart real estate development plan must inform their processes. PPR Strategies was hired to develop Bath’s highest and best use plan for the Northside Depot neighborhood, blending quantitative and qualitative data methods, which address the hard numbers and the “whys” driving those numbers.
On the quantitative side, PPR Strategies dove into land use and zoning districts, property values, transit and infrastructure, demographic trends, public services, and municipal priorities. Collecting and evaluating this data revealed metrics for Bath to consider before moving ahead.
In the qualitative arena, our approach included community outreach, focus groups, stakeholder meetings, and public forums. Digital survey results revealed common themes around beautification, accessibility, historic preservation, and commercial growth, bringing rich perspectives into the conversation. Focus groups, held virtually to make participation easy, revealed similar themes and connected stakeholders devoted to their community.
The resulting plan recommended municipal priorities, a ten-year property development plan based on current and projected demographics, and marketing strategies to enlist stakeholder support. Detailed data collection is key in municipal planning, as it creates a shared vision for community growth. Listening in and acknowledging the concerns of small businesses and citizens creates equitable, resilient communities.