WVU President, students visit Welch on Country Roads Scholars Tour

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WELCH, WV (WVNS) — Faculty and students from West Virginia University took a tour of McDowell County on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

The university is providing money and assistance with a number of projects across Welch. Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University, said the goal is to promote outdoor activities and a healthy lifestyle.

“I think that it’s important for people to know that if they control their health, they control their future,” said Gee.

The projects will use walking trails to connect Linkous Park to other recreational space in the area. Plans are in place to build a coal mining park, ATV park, and revamp existing walking trails. The Mayor of Welch, Harold McBride, hopes the new outdoor spaces will provide more opportunities for families to spend time outside and influence people to move to Welch.

“In order to do that and enhance that, it’s called quality of living, and we have to have those kinds of things also, so that’s what we’re working toward,” McBride said.

The tour group was in Linkous Park to help paint sidewalks as part of the tour’s service project. The Country Roads Tour is part of a push to encourage faculty and staff to see all parts of West Virginia, but also to give back to communities across the State.

Emily Murphy, Associate Professor at West Virginia University, said the service projects help fulfill the university’s mission.

“We’re really fulfilling our land grant mission by coming out into the state and working on these various projects and really exposing our faculty and students to these opportunities,” Murphy said.

For WVU, the work does not stop in Welch.

“The question is what is next, what can we do to be of further help?” Gee said. “Because we have a lot of projects, but those are the beginning, not the end and that is the question of the day for me.”

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