Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 9, 2013

Boards coming together in the two Bluefields

By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Elected leaders in the city of Bluefield and the town of Bluefield, Va., haven’t had a joint meeting to discuss local issues of concern in nearly four years.

That’s why members of the Bluefield, Va., Town Council felt it was important to schedule a meeting with the five newly elected members of the Bluefield Board of Directors. And it didn’t take long for officials in the two Bluefields to agree on a date and location for the gathering. The joint meeting has been set for Thursday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Fincastle on the Mountain.

“This is the first (meeting) in about four years,” Bluefield, Va., Mayor Don Harris said. “This is a more or less get to know each other type of situation. And while we have no particular agenda for discussion, this is just going to be a friendly meeting between the two communities. So basically what we are doing is extending the olive branch out to our newly elected city officials in Bluefield, W.Va., as I did when they had their first city board meeting. We are very optimistic that the two communities can really work together on a lot of joint issues.”

Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole said city officials welcome the opportunity to meet with their Virginia-side counterparts.

“I think the olive branch he (Harris) extended was well received,” Cole said. “And we are all looking forward to it. We have a state line that divides us and our concerns are the exact same. We do have a lot of common interests with the sanitary board. We have a lot of the same interests, and other than the state line, it is one big community. Personally I have businesses on both sides of the state line, and have always gotten along very well with Bluefield, Va., and hope there is an opportunity for us to pool our resources when it is makes sense and when it is appropriate.”

Harris said the first meeting will be an opportunity for the two boards to get to know each other.

“We’ve got four or five people who have never been in local government before,” Harris said. “They are going to have a learning curve for six months to a year. And this could be a positive thing for the two communities. We are very optimistic with this new board that we will have a very happy relationship between the two Bluefields.”

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com