West Side Main Street welcomes new executive director


West Side Main Street welcomes new executive director

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston West Side Main Street (WSMS) has named Stephanie Johnson its new Executive Director. Johnson began her duties with the community development organization in May, replacing Patricia McGill, who retired from the position earlier this year.

Johnson, a Greenbrier County native, is a graduate of the interior design program at West Virginia University and received a master’s degree in community development and planning from Clark University. She brings to WSMS years of experience as an intern and volunteer with Ronceverte Main Street near Lewisburg.

“I am honored to be a part of the West Side revitalization,” says Johnson. “I am optimistic the future will bring many more wonderful changes for the businesses and residents.”

West Side Main Street is nationally unique in that it is the only such program embedded within a university extension service. WSMS was launched in 2005 as a collaboration between the City of Charleston and West Virginia State University Extension Service to help revitalize the Washington Street district of Charleston’s west side.

"We are very excited about having Stephanie join the WVSU Extension Service team,” says Bill Woodrum, Associate Dean of WVSU Extension Service. “Her previous work with Main Street Ronceverte provides her a great background to really step in and be ready to help the West Side take it to the next level."

Based in historic preservation, Main Street is a national model for community revitalization that was developed to save historic commercial architecture but has since become a powerful economic development tool across the country. A program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and West Virginia Main Street, Main Street capitalizes on a community’s history and resources to tackle the complex issue of revitalizing once-booming downtown neighborhoods.

Johnson arrives at WSMS during a busy spring and summer schedule. The West Side Farmers Market is gaining footing in its second season, and annual events such as the West Side Wiener Dog Race and Old Fashion Ice Cream Social will again be part of Charleston’s FestivALL celebration later this month.

“I am blessed to be working among such passionate and dedicated individuals,” says Johnson, citing the many volunteers, partners and attendees who make WSMS events so popular. “Together we will continue to accomplish wonderful things on the West Side!”

More information about WSMS and its upcoming events can be found online at www.westsidemainstreet.org or by calling the WSMS office, located at 303 Washington Street West in Charleston, at 304-720-3161.

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