Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 23, 2013

Officials, developer promote regional opportunities

by BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va. — With mountains of potential on the horizon and plenty of available building sites ready to go, Tazewell County officials and a local developer made a pitch for community participation in taking advantage of the opportunities ahead.

“We’ve got to have the vision,” Charlie Stacy, eastern district supervisor on the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors said to a crowd of 75-80 people gathered at Fincastle on the Mountain Thursday night. The board of supervisors along with the town of Bluefield, Va., and the Bluefield, Va., Rotary Club hosted a meeting billed as a “Community Investment & Development Symposium” to demonstrate the abundance of locations ready for development in the county. Presenters also underscored the immediate need to take action.

Douglas Woloshin and Derrick Ruble of the Leatherwood Corporation provided a PowerPoint presentation that detailed the many available building sites for commercial and residential development that the corporation has to offer.

“We would like to ask for everyone’s assistance,” Woloshin, Leatherwood Corp.’s attorney said. “We would like to offer an inventory of the property.”

Ruble said that Leatherwood has 1,400 acres in Bluefield, Va., all zoned and ready for a variety of commercial or residential developments. “At this time, we’re looking at any big joint venture and we’re ready to proceed with that,” Ruble said.

“I was amazed at how many sites they have that are available,” Stacy said.

Mike Watson, Bluefield, Va., town manager, provided some sobering statistics about the number of structures in the town, and the fact that there are 2,451 housing units in the town, but only 46 available for rent.

He said that there is currently development taking place at Fincastle Farm, and added that the Rich property and St. Clair property is also available.

“I think that housing is one of our big needs,” Watson said. “I just want you to know that there are a lot of opportunities in the town.”

Stacy pointed out that if there are 250 students who come to the county to attend the dental school at the Bluestone Technology Park, “we don’t have any place for them to live,” he said. “This is the reason we are all here.”

Jim Spencer, Tazewell County administrator, pointed out that the students who attend a dental school want a modern quality of life. We will have 260 students here,” Spencer said. “Where are they going to eat? Where are they going to shop? You see, that’s an opportunity,” he said.

Spencer discussed the variety of benefits that the region has to offer the next generation. “We want to make an opportunity for our kids,” he said.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com