CROSS LANES, W.Va. -- If it were incorporated, Cross Lanes' roughly 10,000 residents would form the fourth-largest city in Kanawha County, behind Charleston, South Charleston and St. Albans.
But residents have repeatedly rebuffed incorporation in the past, including rejecting such a proposal during a 1987 referendum.
Still, there are certain services a central office for a community can provide, and the new Cross Lanes Development council seeks to serve that purpose -- while keeping the area unincorporated.
"In some cases, there's a lack of community that occurs just naturally," said Barry Holstein, who is heading up the organization.
In September, the Cross Lanes Development council held its first meeting at Perrow Church, and Holstein said between 12 and 15 "very interested" people attended. Since then, the group has continued to get off the ground and running.
"We're in the early stages," Holstein said. "We're putting together the infrastructure, if you will."
For those opposed to incorporation, it's important to note the Cross Lanes Development council isn't going to be a government agency. It isn't affiliated with a religious organization, either.
Instead, the Cross Lanes group will be a nonprofit community organization, thereby taking a page from the Greater Sissonville Development Council, which operates a similar venture in the Sissonville area.
"We're following the Sissonville road map," Holstein said. But, "Cross Lanes is different than Sissonville. We have different needs."
The Cross Lanes group will seek to serve as a "conduit" to connect residents, businesses and other organizations in the community, and could also legally serve as a channel for grant money.
The organization can also work to identify and tackle issues affecting Cross Lanes, two of which are traffic and signage improvements, Holstein said. The group could also coordinate other activities, like neighborhood watch programs.
"There are plenty of opportunities in Cross Lanes if the knowledge exists and a way to connect the resources that are there," Holstein said.