Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 14, 2013

Bluefield stands to lose in regionalism


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — It was interesting to see the editorial in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph dated Sept. 15 that encouraged “regionalism” for the area. Specifically, the thought that Bluefield, W.Va., and Bluefield, Va., can help one another. While this can work on a very small level, this notion implies that the two Bluefields have the same tax structure and same business conditions. We all know that is not the case based on state tax codes. Bluefield’s opportunities reside in Charleston with the state Legislature.  

If all things were equal in terms of business environment, then we would not have seen a mass exodus of people from Bluefield, W.Va., to Bluefield, Va., over the last four decades. We would not see corporations decide to locate to Bluefield, Va. Bluefield, W.Va., is the victim of legislation produced in Charleston. It’s just that simple.  

Furthermore, this is the same regionalism theology that helped justify Food City’s blocking of grocery store space on Cumberland Road in Bluefield. This justification was promoted by some community leaders on the West Virginia side as I recall. My guess is that we will not see the current Bluefield city board address the vacant grocery store space. This issue will quietly go away because it is, unfortunately, politically incorrect to “push.”  

When regionalism is presented to Bluefield there is generally an underlying motive. It mostly has to do with the interest and assets a select few have in Virginia. In summary, when you hear regionalism it will come at Bluefield’s expense and at the profit of a handful of people. Bluefield stands to lose a lot in the strategy of regionalism. 

Greg Shrewsbury

Charleston