What the Beckley Area Thinks of Southern W.Va.'s Economic Future
A special West Virginia Senate committee, known as the Southern Coalfields Revitalizing its Economy or SCORE for short, made its first stop in Beckley Wednesday evening to hear from community members ways lawmakers can help diversify the region's economy and put people back to work.
More than two dozen people shared their thoughts with the eight panel members in attendance. Here is what some had to say.
"You need to be able to get people and information in and you need to be able to get people and information out. So, I think you've got people who are ready to go to work, but you guys need to look at the infrastructure. If you put the infrastructure there, people will come. There's just no way to get there from here."
“We have all the [natural] resources in our area. What we seem to lack, though, in some areas is a trained workforce. I’d like to see a little bit on emphasis this task force to look at the education opportunities in southern West Virginia and improve those and show young adults that there can be good opportunities in southern West Virginia for them.”
“One of our strongest needs is public transportation because we have great, awesome [community] programs, but we can’t get the children who need to be there. They’re isolated in hollows and we need to go get them, if we had some form of public transportation. So please don’t forget public transportation.”
“One of the really unique things about West Virginia is that we’re very few people spread out over a big area and no matter how many roads we build we’re still going to be spread out and we’re still going to be far from each other. So, I think it’s very important that most of economy is locally based. We need things like small business incubators, micro loans to local folks so they can start they own mom and pop shops or they can start a plumbing business that they would be able to otherwise.”
“Right now large portions of southern West Virginia are held by out of state corporations. You can’t build anything without buying the land and you can’t get the mineral rights. No one is going to build anything without getting the mineral rights and these companies aren’t going to give them up.”