J.L. Campbell believes the arts and fitness activities like biking and boating can help revive his 1,000-person hometown while they make it easier for residents to get fit. Behind him, a building is being gutted to create a huge sculpture studio and teaching area inside.
Girl Scouts scribbled encouraging messages on windows of empty buildings.
Soccer coach - With no soccer in the schools, Braxton parents created a nonprofit league for almost 200 children. Rick Riffle of Flatwoods is one of 20 volunteer coaches. "Volunteers are one of Braxton County's greatest assets," said Sutton mayor J.L. Campbell. "It's a way of being there for my daughter," Riffle said.
Every spring, Sutton citizens sponsor a cleanup day, with a party in the evening.
Lex deGruyl, owner of Sutton's P.J. Berry's restaurant expects new recreation activities -- hiking, biking, boating -- would bring new customers. With an eclectic menu and microbrew beer, "we're ready for them," he said.
Sutton is enrolled in the state's Main Street ON TRAC program, which provides planning help and small grants. Dot Gioulis and VISTA worker Rebecca Conrad attended a March seminar on fitness activities as tools for economic development.
Last week after church, members of the Christ Church United Methodist Church surrounded "the hole" where they hope to build a three-story recreation center. "We want this to be something for the whole community," said Pastor Doug Smailes (left).
Mark Wine of Burnsville takes his elementary-age son to wrestling practice at the high school after school. "I want him to be active and keep his weight down, so I really appreciate these volunteer coaches," he said.
Mechanic Harry Page, 46, of Sutton likes the idea of more outdoor opportunities for his son Reese, 11. "Parents need to take every opportunity to keep their kids busy with activities that might keep them away from drugs," he said.
The Landmark Studio (steeple), a theater in a former church, is considered Sutton's number one arts asset. Last month, 30 children performed to packed houses in a musical production.
Braxton County High School stays open after school for college classes and sports practice. Principal Dawn Dooley plans to add more physical activity opportunities for students not on teams.
Sissy Price is the Braxton County public health nurse.