PHILIPPI, W.Va. (WBOY) — Following the shutdown of Alderson Broaddus University, Philippi residents have been left with a huge hole in their community. On Monday night, members of the community met to discuss what’s next.

The first Philippi Forward meeting was held on Monday in the council chambers of Philippi City Hall. The meeting’s purpose was to give focus to community input and ways to support local businesses and the Philippi community.

This is one of four meetings that will be going on throughout the month to give Philippi residents an opportunity to share ideas, concerns, or visions for the city. With the shutdown of Alderson Broadus University Philippi has become less populated for a majority of the year due to the lack of college students in the community, something that could potentially harm local businesses.

Philippi City Council members attended the meeting in order to hear the public’s input and to answer any questions residents may have. During the meeting, a city official said that the city’s aim is to not focus on the loss of the university, but rather how the community can lift itself up and continue to thrive during this time of uncertainty.

Philippi’s city manager, Jeremy Drennen these meetings are being kept as intimate as possible to allow residents to feel as though they have the space to speak freely.

The next Phillipi Forward meetings will take place on Oct. 11th, 16th, and 25th, all at 6 p.m. These meetings are open to the public, and local residents are encouraged to participate.