The ability to see hidden potential is a practice in creativity and optimism that few have mastered. When Mark Mondo first walked a quiet, wooded piece of land along the Ohio River more than a decade ago, he had a vision – a vision now coming to life as Harbor Point, an innovative community just outside of Williamstown, WV. While the planned community is still in the early phases of construction, the development is beginning to take shape. At the heart of the property is the marina, a man-made marvel that provides quick access to the Ohio River through the Big Run tributary inlet.
Protecting boats from the wake, debris, and commotion of the Ohio, the marina offers a private boat ramp, concrete docks, and a bathhouse for members. Once the finger docks are installed, the harbor will accommodate up to 60 vessels.
Mona Mondo, Mark’s sister and primary point person for Harbor Point Development said the marina is starting to fill up now that summer is in full swing. “We were only open a couple of months last year, and with the coronavirus, some people weren’t sure if they wanted to put in this spring,” she said. “But now it’s getting crazy – people are already calling to reserve slips for next year.”
Even before the finishing touches were complete, Mona said families were making use of the docks. “I see people come down and the kids have inner tubes on their arms, wearing their little flip flops, all excited to go out on the boat.” She hopes the marina will become a place where families will gather and meet new friends, a place where the community can come together. “And, now more than ever, it’s a great way to social distance. How better to have some safe fun than go out on the boat on the river?”
The first of several luxury condo buildings is currently under construction on the strip of land between the river and the marina and groundbreaking will begin soon for the commercial projects planned to accompany the community. Residents and visitors will be able to spend a day
“Whether you live here, have a boat in the marina, or are just passing by, you’ll be able to come enjoy a meal or go shopping,” said Mona. “We are really hoping that this integrated community brings people together for a good time and contributes to the quality of life we enjoy here.”
In an effort to help build up the local economy, Mona said they are not reaching out to any big box stores or chains to fill their commercial space and are instead partnering with local small business owners who might be interested in expanding or opening a second location.
“I’m a big believer in supporting local business,” she said. “When you buy local, more than 70% of that money stays in the local area and is reinvested back into the community.”
One local business already leaving their mark on Harbor Point is Patterson’s Farm, owned by soap-maker Kathy Patterson. Kathy worked with Mona and the Harbor Point team to develop a special scented goat’s milk soap for marina members and the boathouse.
“The scent is a custom blend that came from a few weeks of blending and sniffing,” Kathy said. “It took a while for a group of noses to settle on the perfect one, but we did – a rich, cashmere vanilla!”
Kathy agrees that partnering with local businesses is crucial for our local small business community. “Everyone starts small and needs the local support – and where do we give back first when we succeed? Local!” Kathy said she is grateful to be supported and encouraged by so many local businesses here in the Mid-Ohio Valley. “When locals lift each other up, it helps both sides grow. I just hope that someday I will be in the position to help another small business achieve their dreams like I have.”
Mona said she used the Best of the MOV Guide to discover local businesses she hadn’t yet visited. “In addition to our local business owners being extremely talented, people here are just so genuinely kind and welcoming. You can’t help but see that shine through – they do everything with a sense of kindness and community that’s really special to this area.”
Nestled along the shoreline across from the Henderson Wilds, Harbor Point’s location is special to the Mondos, too. From her office, Mona sees a variety of wildlife visit the grounds each day, from deer and geese to eagles and heron.
“I love the wildlife, I love the sunsets, and I love this view each and every day,” said Mona. “It could be cloudy and rainy or a bright, sunny day and it will be a gorgeous view looking out on the river.”
The magic happening at Harbor Point is more than a decade in the making, rooted in Mark’s vision of local families enjoying access to the river, the natural surroundings, and local amenities. While the mixed-use community concept is not a new idea, Mona believes the marina and its idyllic location along the river are what make it truly spectacular. “And anybody who knows Mark knows he does everything the best way that he can. I love being a part of it.”