The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 28, 2013

Making plans

Team efforts make revitalization of small towns possible

— Small communities are the backbone of West Virginia.

In tough economic times, their health and well-being is essential to our state.

Rather than sit back and let the times dictate their outcome, several towns in our region are taking it upon themselves to ensure that they’re not only ready for the future, but they’re planning for it.

Sophia, Hinton, Richwood, Marlinton, Princeton and Bluefield were each represented at a Blueprint Communities workshop last week at Tamarack.

It was the latest in several meetings aimed to enable and educate these important communities that play key roles in Raleigh, Summers, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Mercer counties.

The meeting was part of a 10-month program facilitated by The Hub, a statewide, nonprofit organization that focuses on helping communities improve in areas of finance, quality of life, civic engagement and social engagement. The initiative was launched in West Virginia in 2007.

Many of the Blueprint Communities goals seem to be on their way to being met.

Strong local leadership is being built, and collaborations are being organized.

We salute the people from our region who have invested their time, energy and talent to help make a difference in their towns.

We believe that through such efforts, small towns can realize revitalization and even new developments.

It takes a team effort, and that approach will serve the participating communities very well going forward.

In any development, a plan is crucial.

This seems to be a blueprint for success.