By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Two sites in Mercer County have been considered for a proposed multipurpose facility that could serve as a location for fairs, concerts, exhibitions and more.
Members of the Development Authority of Mercer County recently discussed the latest information concerning the selection for the site of a multi-purpose park. In 2006, the authority started the process by studying properties owned jointly by the Mercer County Commission, the city of Princeton and the city of Bluefield. The land was later determined to be unsuitable.
Stafford Consultants, Inc. in Princeton compiled a list of six properties in West Virginia and nearby Tazewell County, Va., for the project. Criteria such as acreage, highway access, and utilities access were considered.
These sites included the Alexander Farm property near the intersection of John Nash Boulevard and U.S. Route 460; Cumberland Road Farm three miles from Exit 1 of Interstate 77; a site approximately 1.5 miles east of I-77 on U.S. Route 460; West/Craft Farm east of I-77 at Exit 14 approximately 1.5 miles north along Eads Mill Road; Gardner properties west of Exit 14 of I-77; and Leatherwood Farms along Route 460 at the state line with Virginia.
The Leatherwood property was one of two sites discussed Sept. 17 during a meeting of the development authority’s membership. The Gardner properties west of I-77 were also considered, said Mike Vinciguerra, president of the Mercer County Commission.
“The Leatherwood property was going to cost a whole lot more,” Vinciguerra said of the work needed to prepare it.
Having a multipurpose center near Exit 14 would be economical, the development authority’s members were told. No decision to select was site was made Sept. 17.
Vinciguerra said such a facility would be a boost to Mercer County’s economy. An equestrian park alone would not generate enough income to maintain it, so the site would have to serve other events, too.
“They could have the coal show over there, concerts, a lot of different things,” he said.