Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

December 14, 2012

Great potential in Bluefield’s future

After reading several newspaper articles about Bluefield and downtown Bluefield, I want to take a moment to clarify where the city stands with economic planning. Since August, an economic team has been working hard to develop a single plan for the community. The components include downtown, commercial, industrial, recreation and community engagement. The city currently has no official plan for downtown, but this will change in just a few weeks. The schedule for overall plan delivery to the city board of directors has been communicated for January 2013. The direction will be a start on a positive path for Bluefield.

A major component of this plan will be community engagement. Essentially, this component will seek to promote involvement in the community by all citizens to include input on future economic activities. Jim Ferguson, our city manager, has great approaches on how to make this happen. Additionally, we’ll be asking citizens to support local businesses.

We do have a few obstacles, but if we get the community behind Bluefield, we will be successful.   Perhaps the most challenging piece of our development will be navigating the current grocery store issue on Cumberland Road. In town, the old Kroger building is the only location with the available space to accommodate a full-service grocery store. While we continue to look at many options, I hope that the executives at Food City will take a human view on this situation. We have a local grocery business that is still willing to take the lease and place a store in the space immediately. This issue is important in terms of jobs, B&O tax, property values and basic living. Having a store on Cumberland Road is vital to both Bluefields, especially from an economic standpoint.

We do have challenges, but we have opportunities, also. I have no doubt that Bluefield’s future has great potential. People care about the city, and I am inspired by them. At the end of the day, we all love Bluefield, and I believe that love for the community will generate positive outcomes.

Greg Shrewsbury

Economic Development Director


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