by BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
For the past several years, the tale of the two Bluefields has been a little lopsided with dramatic growth on one side of the state line and not so much on the other. That said, the leadership of the city of Bluefield and the town of Bluefield, Va., came together Thursday night at Fincastle on the Mountain for a combined meeting and talked about the ties that bind the communities as one rather than the issues that divide the two towns.
“That was some time back, but we want to look forward now,” Bluefield, Va., Mayor Don Harris said after the conversation drifted to a couple of issues that had been brought up in the past during previous combined meetings, but never proceeded from the initial discussions.
“I think this is a great opportunity for the two Bluefields. There doesn’t seem to be any animosity between us,” Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole said. “We’ve come a long way with (issues like the) Sanitary Board. And in our city park, we’re co-mingled there.”
With the exception of Director Mike Gibson who is still recovering from health problems, the governing bodies of both communities appeared to speak freely about ways the communities could work together. Of course, there was some good-natured interaction about the local football rivalry between the two high schools. “It will always be the Beaver-Graham game to me,” Cole said, but Bluefield, Va., Councilman Donnie Linkous, who has been a part of the volunteer chain gang for many years at Graham High School games in Mitchell Stadium responded: “At least for this year it is.”
Bluefield, Va., Councilman Steve Danko commended the city on the opening of the Portabella Restaurant, but recommended working with a physician and with Bluefield State College to bring more business downtown. Bluefield City Manager Jim Ferguson spoke briefly about efforts to do just that, and Bluefield, Va., Town Manager Mike Watson went into detail about the differences between the recreational programs in both communities. “I think getting parents and families involved is just great,” Watson said. Bluefield Director Ellen Light had a wealth of ideas, including an idea to have a 90th anniversary renewal of the July 12, 1924 “Marriage of the two Bluefields.” Linkous spoke briefly about the volunteer effort to re-open the Harmony Acres swimming pool and Bluefield Vice Mayor Barbara Smith spoke about a need to reconsider having parades that unite both communities.