West Marion Community Forum

West Marion Community Forum - Our Story

Resident-led, and focused on creating a better neighborhood.

The purpose of the West Marion Community Forums is to build relationships among members of the community, learn about existing resources to strengthen the community, identify locally driven solutions to issues related to housing, transportation, childcare, healthy food, and youth engagement; and work together to address challenges over the long term.


The West Marion Community Forum is supported by over 70 community members, who have spent the past year identifying and diving deep into issues that concern their community. 

Because of these forums, community members have a shared vision for the future of West Marion - a vision that includes affordable housing, living wage jobs, access to reliable transportation, access to healthy foods, and bold youth leadership. They also have stronger relationships with each other, more connections to existing resources, and new resources for the community. 

This forum is proudly led by diverse local leaders who work hard to move the community’s vision into action and drive meaningful changes in West Marion.

Co-Chairs: Dawna Ledbetter, Senior Center and Paula Avery, Coordinator

Steering Committee Members:

Alexus Boykins, Project Revive
Vickey Stinson, Keeping It Fresh Community Garden
Belinda Young, Keeping It Fresh Community Garden
Angela Forney, Community Resident
Randall Conley: McDowell County Government
Heather Cotton: City of Marion
Amy Haynes: Manna Food Bank
Lucy Lewis: Coats Industrial Engineering Department
Billy Martin: City Council
Ray McKesson: Addie’s Chapel and McDowell Health Coalition
Beverley Watts: McDowell Technical Community College

This group is also supported by Rural Support Partners and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust’s Healthy Places North Carolina Initiative. 


Come and join our efforts to be a positive change in our community!

Thank You...

Keeping It Fresh with Healthy Food Options

In early May 2017 The West Marion community held a ground-breaking ceremony for a new garden that will provide fresh and nourishing food for folks living in this neighborhood. 

The garden, named Keeping it Fresh, will grow beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, okra, cucumbers and flowers. It is located next to Addie’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

This is not the only achievement for the "Helathy Food Options" work group...

Work to Date
  • Applied for Resourceful Communities Grant for a Community Garden
  • Partnered with McDowell Schools to offer the summer feeding program in West Marion. 
  • Attended the Local Food Advisory Council, Local Food Access and Awareness Pod, and Community Food and Health Hub meetings. 
  • Marketed the Double Bucks program in the community
  • Marketed the YMCA’s Mobile Market to the community

Work Plan
  • Host Community Thanksgiving Dinner
  • Attend Local Food Advisory Council, Local Food Access and Awareness Pod, and Community Food and Health Hub meetings. 

Housing Work Group

Work to Date
  • Hosted a housing discrimination workshop
Work Plan
  • Identify all the church groups that do repairs on houses 
  • Conduct an inventory of housing repairs needed in West Marion
  • Engage the City of Marion, Habitat for Humanity, and Mountain Housing Opportunities to build homes on land banks
  • Identify ways to utilize the city’s new grant for housing repairs 
  • Address discrimination at new housing complex

Transportation Work Group

Work to Date
  • Secured a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to provide transportation to the West Marion community

Work Plan
  • Market transportation services to key places in the community (senior center, churches, barbershop)
  • Put flier in Meals on Wheels delivery to seniors 

Childcare Services

Work to Date
  • Invited Wanda Wood, Foothills Partnerships for Children and Angela Strickland, Youth Development Director at the YMCA to speak and share resources in the community
Work Plan 
  • Partner with the Health Coalition to organize industries to provide on-site childcare for second and third shift workers. 
Key Questions:
  • What industries do people work at in West Marion? (Baldor, Baxter, Columbia)
  • How many of your coworkers have childcare issues? At which industries? From what areas of the community (West Marion, East Marion)
  • Partner with the Health Coalition to organize childcare providers to offer care for second and third shift industry workers.
  • Discuss a partnership between MTCC, YMCA, and CFWNC- Similar to a model in Asheville.
  • Request the YMCA to share more resources inside of the West Marion Community – Addie’s Chapel, Mt. Moriah, Barbershop

Youth Engagement

Work to Date
  • Fundraised and implemented a Book Bag Drive
  • Started a conversation in the community about youth needs 
  • Secured YES Grant

Work Plan
  • Fundraise for Women’s Shelter

West Marion Photo Gallery


Contact Us

We would love to hear from you!

Want to get more information? Contact us by using the form below or call directly for more info.

  • Address

    220 West Grayson Street, Marion,NC 28752

  • Phone

    (828) 317-9729

  • Email