Group conducts needs assessment for Tucker

Are you a Tucker County resident, a Tucker County small business owner, or a visitor to Tucker County? Please assist with a Tucker County Housing and Small Business Needs Assessment by filling out an appropriate, brief survey at

You can also pick up/drop off hard copies of the resident survey at your municipal post office, libraries, city/town halls, and senior centers. Visitors can pick up hard copies at the Tucker County Visitor Center on William Avenue in Davis (Convention and Visitors Bureau).

Woodlands Development Group, a non-profit community development organization working in Tucker County, recently initiated the Housing and Small Business Needs Assessment and Forecast Study for Tucker County. Financially supported through Woodlands, the Tucker County Commission and the Tucker County Development Authority and supported by the Tucker County Planning Commission, Woodlands hopes to provide an insightful and useful study for county boards, local organizations and businesses to use for planning and funding purposes.

The anonymous survey results will be summarized in a report that will help identify challenges for housing and small businesses in Tucker County and outline possible recommendations and strategies for meeting the community’s current and future needs.

“In order for us to all work more effectively, we need to have some better information,” said Emily Wilson-Hauger with Woodlands. “We all want to make sure that our workforce has adequate housing, and that our small businesses have what they need to thrive. This study will help us focus the limited resources we have available.”

Woodlands Development Group is working with Downstream Strategies – a respected West Virginia firm based in Morgantown – to conduct and write the study. The goals, objectives, and approach of this project are based on feedback gathered at a kick-off meeting of the project team held in Thomas in late February and made up of local representation from: the Tucker County Development Authority, the Tucker County Planning Commission, Parsons Revitalization Organization (PRO), New Historic Thomas, Green Rivers, Woodlands Development Group and Woodlands Community Lenders.

Because of its seasonal economic nature, it can prove difficult to find reliable data on housing and small business for the county. Building off a review of existing data and research of Tucker County, Downstream Strategies and local Tucker County stakeholders developed three surveys to gain local insight: a Housing Survey for Tucker County residents, a Small Business Owner Survey and a Visitor Survey.

Several focus groups will also take place to bring more in-depth answers to survey questions.

Fritz Boettner of Downstream Strategies writes, “Our participatory approach will engage local small business owners and residents in discussions, providing this assessment with a true understanding of ‘on the ground’ perspectives.

“This project will help identify challenges for each sector and outline possible steps or plans for meeting the community’s needs.”

Dr. Alan Collins, an economist from West Virginia University, will also contribute to the project by developing an econometric model that will project how development of Corridor H could potentially impact housing and small businesses within our rural community.