My table facing Market street, I begin to type articles and work from the Coffee Bar in downtown Parkersburg. And yet the Coffee Bar is just one of the new establishments to take root in the historic district of Parkersburg. I am continuously impressed with the changes in downtown that I have seen in the past few years. The Downtown is made up of classic local favorites like the Chrystal Café, Bankshot Pub, the Blennerhassett, and Chams Lebanese restaurant to name a few, but has also seen a rise in new businesses like the Coffee Bar, the Parkersburg Brewing Company, and the soon to be Emmanuels Café. With a recent influx of businesses, there is spark of interest into recreating the Parkersburg downtown.
Since I can remember, Parkersburg’s downtown has been characterized by many as parking lots, empty buildings, Public debt, and the Blennerhassett Hotel. While much of that remains true, there has been a significant revival in interest in downtown Parkersburg. For example, since the renovation of Point Park, residents visit the area for fishing, scenery, or simply a short walk beside the flood wall. There have been many other recent developments for small businesses on Market Street, such as an antiques shop, a print shop, and a plastic toy shop. In addition to this, I have seen an upstart in restaurant business in the area, attracting not only its usual lunchtime crowd but also a new evening scene.
The Coffee Bar
The Coffee Bar popped up late last year as a new edition to downtown. A local restaurant perfect for meeting friends, meeting for work, or doing work by yourself. It has great coffee and a pleasant atmosphere. They have also started doing dinner specials similar to urban pop up dinners.
The Parkersburg Brewing Co.
Situating itself in a nationwide trend, the Parkersburg Brewing Company is an energetic place downtown where you can get quality brews. My favorite original brew is the Citrus Tsumai, one of the freshest IPAs around.
A Marietta start up, now expanding to Parkersburg, Emmanuel’s Cafe specializes in international cuisine. With a great atmosphere, this is soon to be a go to lunch place downtown. Their menu features cuisine from other continents and local favorites.
Parkersburg Point Park
A relatively new local destination featuring signature Belpre BBQ, Craft Brews and Local Wines, a Cupcake place, a Bakery, pizza, and even a Hemp store. What more can you ask for? Previously home to the first MOV music Festival.
These are some my favorite additions to downtown so far. But this is only the beginning of revitalizing our downtown. As more people visit these establishments, more investments will be made in businesses like these. The next time you are meeting up with friends, choose a local place downtown. Reclaiming these historic sights are critical for the development of Parkersburg. This area has many untapped opportunities in the seemingly empty, old buildings. As a community, we need entrepreneurs to fill these gaps of creative, tech, and entertainment industries in our area. In order to grow there must be significant developments in these industries.
These are opportunities to restore our historic traditions all the while making Parkersburg a more attractive place to live. This is only a glimpse of potential for the historic district of Parkersburg. The City and concerned MOV citizens need to continue to come together, partner, and create more spaces for young entrepreneurs to move here. My hope is that in the next few years, the historic district can turn into an exciting new face of Parkersburg.