Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 3, 2013

College collaboration — Partnership will help BSC, city

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— Getting young people — and college students in particular — back into downtown Bluefield could go a long way toward helping with ongoing revitalization efforts.

That’s why a new joint task force recently launched by the city of Bluefield and Bluefield State College is important, and should help with future development projects for both the city and the college. One immediate and logical goal of the task force should be getting students back in the downtown area. And this can be accomplished by bringing some college courses back to downtown Bluefield.

The college already owns the Research and Development Corporation building, and there are other spaces available in the downtown for satellite or off-campus classes, as correctly noted by Bluefield Economic Development Director Greg Shrewsbury.

Getting college kids back in the downtown would provide a welcomed boost to the merchants and restaurants operating in the area. Shrewsbury says bringing college classes back to the downtown area is a short-term goal of the task force. He foresees the city’s transit authority as being able to help with the transportation of students from the campus to the downtown area.

The task force will be made up of 10 members with six representatives from Bluefield State College and four from the city, including Shrewsbury, City Manager Jim Ferguson, Bluefield Area Transit Director Patrick McKinney, and at least one member of the Bluefield Board of Directors.

Dr. Marsha Krotseng, president of Bluefield State College, says both the college and the city of Bluefield are equally invested in the area’s economic future.

“We have been talking about ways for the college and city to work together because it is very important as the city grows and develops,” Krotseng said last week. “Economic development is just as important to the college, and we want to be mutually supportive of each other. This task force will allow us to get together, put our creative minds together and see how we can benefit the city, college and entire region here in southern West Virginia.”

Getting students involved in the process is critical. They can bring a youthful perspective to the table, and, with hope, also provide new and innovative ideas on how the area can grow. And new ideas for Bluefield should be welcomed and encouraged.

We applaud Krotseng, and the administration of BSC, for their willingness to step up and work with the city administration in the ongoing search for solutions to downtown and regional growth.

It is our hope that this new collaboration will not only bring students back to the downtown, but also creative ideas and action. We welcome the student, staff and college involvement, and hope this is the beginning of a long and prosperous partnership between BSC and city hall.

It should be a win-win for all parties.