Sunnyside Up: Building America’s Best College Neighborhood

With nearly 30,000 West Virginia University number-one-party schoolers running around Morgantown, W.Va., neighborhoods surrounding campus take a pretty hard hit when it comes to destruction, trash, and downright filth. Clean it up: that was the goal of Campus Neighborhoods Revitalizations Corporations (CNRC) when they started the Sunnyside Up initiative in 2004.  Currently, Sunnyside Up is one of CNRC’s primary projects.

So what exactly is Sunnyside Up, you ask. Sunnyside Up is a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of the Sunnyside neighborhood in Morgantown, W.Va. It is a partnership between the City of Morgantown and West Virginia University with a mission to address infrastructure and housing needs in the neighborhoods surrounding the main campus of WVU.

Since it’s beginning, Sunnyside Up has been working with WVU students, Morgantown landlords and local residents on a wide variety of projects. Some of these projects include:

  • The Design Assistance Project: aims to provide professional assistance on property rehabilitation
  • The Facade Program: provides Sunnyside property owners funds to renovate and improve their properties to make them more appealing and safe
  • The Sidewalk Grant Program: aims to clean up and rebuild sidewalks in the area by matching Sunnyside property owners up to $3,000 toward the replacement of sidewalks in the neighborhood
  • The Sunnyside Dumpster Program: cleans and repaints dumpsters in the neighborhood that have been burned, destructed and/or unkept

Ultimately, Sunnyside Up is an organization that was created through the collaboration of residents and students who truly care about the well-being of the City of Morgantown and its people. Through the creation of projects and programs that tackle issues of infrastructure, graffiti, trash pick-up and more, Sunnyside can become “America’s  Best College Neighborhood” one step at a time.

Interested in getting involved? That’s easy — Click here for more info.

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6 thoughts on “Sunnyside Up: Building America’s Best College Neighborhood

  1. Cool Post Maddi! This is a unique angle to look at housing issues from. Sunnyside has been a constant issue for as long as I can remember in Morgantown. I think it’s nice they’re trying to make fixing it up a collaborative effort. I love the videos you chose to incorporate because I thought it really added to the story. I think it would be cool to hear from some members of the community though and how they’re helping, what they would like to see done differently, and essentially why the think the program is necessary. Adding the voice of a real person the issue effects can be very effective.

  2. Sunnyside Up is seriously awesome. I’ve been learning a lot about them in my urban planning class. Specifically, we just discussed this TIF (tax increment financing) program and how it’s helping Sunnyside and beyond. We just learned that TIFs are the single most important funds for development today. That could be something more in depth covered for this blog.

    I’d like to read more/write more about Sunnyside and their specific programs. They really are a great group for this college town.

  3. I’m glad you chose to write about this, because I think this has been one of the biggest projects WVU has undertaken in recent years. Admittedly, I don’t know much about the project, so your post helped give me more details about everything going on. You did a nice job making this post readable by breaking it up with bullet points and two videos. I haven’t been through Sunnyside much, since it’s still under renovation after they tore everything down. I can’t wait to see it when it’s done, however, because the “old” Sunnyside is the only way I’ve ever known it since I’ve been in Morgantown. I agree with Whitney, though, I think getting some thoughts from residents or Sunnyside Up volunteers (or both) would be a great addition to this post.

    There was a lot of controversy surrounding the tearing down of Sunnyside, so that would have also been nice to compare and add into this post.

  4. Yeah, so… I’ve lost a lot of faith in Sunnyside Up since the whole Jim Hunt thing. So they’ll cut Sunnyside Up’s funding, but they won’t cut the ridiculous $85k he gets a year? Plus, I think Hunt got kicked out of that position, which I’d call a good thing. Sunnyside Up wasn’t doing anything when he was there, and the only reason he got the job was because of his friends in City Council.
    I’m dubious about this project. All the media you used seems a few years old. Is there anything we know Sunnyside Up has done recently?

  5. Here’s a problem: Mutt’s is gone! 😦

    That dumpster featured in the 2009 video was the same dumpster that was set on fire last football season after the Texas win. (ironic)

    You can take the wild college kids out of Sunnyside, but you can’t take the Sunnyside out of the wild college kids.

    Go ahead. Spend millions cleaning up Sunnyside, but if the city thinks they’re eliminating the re-occuring riots, they’re probably wrong.

  6. Good post. A little more informational than issue-oriented, but there’s a good point-by-point breakdown (although a few more recent sources would be helpful). Is there a way this could have been made a little more timely? Perhaps integrating a recent development in the story as your lede would make it more helpfully contemporary.

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