When it was constructed back in 2011, Tazewell County leaders had high hopes for the 681-acre Bluestone Business and Technology Park. But today, a good nine years later, the business park is still vacant.
While county officials are still actively working to attract a tenant to the park, and the new shell building located there, another idea under consideration is opening up the park for recreational offerings. This includes possible walking and hiking trails, picnic areas and a playground for children, according to Charlie Stacy, who is the Eastern District member on the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors.
“I want a recreational project to come to fruition in 2020 in the Bluestone,” Stacy, the board’s chairman, told the Daily Telegraph last week. “ We are doing all we can to promote the Bluestone as an economic opportunity. The Bluestone will also provide an opportunity for recreation for our citizens.”
The technology park is located along a scenic stretch of land just west of Bluefield along U.S. Route 460. It would be an ideal location for a prospective new business or industry. But until a new company sets up shop in the park, why not make it more accessible to the public?
We, too, think that walking and hiking trails — maybe even an area for a picnic — would be a good idea for the Bluestone.
“Whatever it may be I want to see it come to light this year,” Stacy said. “We have opened up the Bluestone so people can see what is there. We hope we don’t regret that decision with incidents of vandalism.”
If walking and hiking trails are made available, existing litter control laws would also have to be enforced inside of the park. Of course, we would also hope that those individuals who make use of the park will also respect it and the area’s natural beauty.
According to Stacy, the county has spent a “significant” amount of time and effort in trying to recruit outside businesses to the park, which also includes a 40,000-square-foot shell building on site. We believe the park will eventually be occupied by a job-creating tenant. The only question is how long will it take before that happens?
But until someone opens up a business in the Bluestone, we would encourage the Board of Supervisors to make the park more accessible to the public.
Walking and hiking trails sound like a good idea. If nothing else, it will let more people see the park.