The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 19, 2013

Comprehensive plan will help grow a better Beckley for everyone

By Ann Worley
guest columnist

— Many of you probably remember either growing up in Beckley or spending summers and holidays with grandparents in the late 1960s and 1970s. On Saturday, you and friends might have walked to G.C. Murphy to get a cherry Coke and then to Beckley Theater to catch an afternoon matinee. Perhaps, if you were a teen girl, a stop at the Hub & Vogue would be in order to see what the latest fashions were.

There was not much on Harper Road back then, but there was a toll booth marking the entrance to the two-lane turnpike that would take you to Charleston.

Did you ever give a thought to what went into making Beckley what it was?

Fast forward to the 1990s. Remember those Saturdays spent all day at Beckley Little League? Perhaps you had friends in for the weekend and took them to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and Youth Museum.

Exit 44 was growing at a fast pace. The toll booth was long gone, but the entrance to the four-lane turnpike was accessible via a ramp. Near where the old toll booth was, a City of Beckley fire station still stands. I was working as the City of Beckley’s Recreation Director, and was beginning to have an idea about the planning and effort it took to keep Beckley moving progressively forward.

Speed it up to 2013. Perhaps on a Saturday in July, you and friends attended the Friends of Coal Auto Show during the day and then stayed for the concert that night. It could be that you and your family took a walk on the Rails-to-Trails on that Saturday and stopped in at the flea market locat-ed at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway facility.

Many of us have had business in the new Magistrate Court in the Judicial Annex, located at the site of the old G.C. Murphy building. It is probably safe to say that they do not have cherry Cokes there. 

Serving on Beckley Common Council and being involved with the development of our Comprehensive Plan has really opened my eyes as to what it takes to keep this city moving forward.

It takes people. Pure and simple. People who will look at Beckley’s future, not only in terms of being financially responsible, but with realistic goals in mind for the next ten years.

That is what we are working toward with the Comprehensive Plan. Our first Public Visioning Meeting will be held Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the John W. Eye Center on the campus of UC - Beckley. We need your good ideas and vision for the future!

Time travel to 2023. Who knows what memories may be made on a Saturday in Beckley? Planning realistically and creatively today ensures that many generations to come will reap the benefits of the Beckley that is yet to be.

Come and help us plan for the future of Beckley. We need you. Pure and simple.

— Ward II Councilwoman Ann Worley is chairwoman of Beckley’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee