The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

April 5, 2013

Blueprint Community officials gather for workshop

Blueprint Communities of Bluefield, Hinton, Marlinton, Princeton, Richwood and Sophia met Thursday at Comfort Inn and Suites in Beckley for a workshop in community coaching, team-building exercises, and how to build civic infrastructure.

Each community team has been chosen to take part in an interactive curriculum over the next 10 months to create a collaborative vision of their communities and develop a plan to achieve those aspirations.

In return for participating in the program, the teams and communities will receive technical assistance and funding to help implement their community blueprints.

“The hope is that we get a diverse group of people talking about planning in the community. Traditionally, strategic planning is done by the city or county without a lot of community involvement,” said Andrea Salina, director of community strategies for the W.Va. Community Development Hub. “These teams were intentionally put together with representatives from various sections — nonprofit, local government, a banking representative, a developer and four other community members from any spectrum.”

Ultimately, the initiative hopes the planning process incorporates a broad scope of ideas and, most importantly, moves from the planning to the implementation phase.

“A lot of these communities have done plans in the past and they were not implemented. This is a really good building block to push these plans into implementation.”

In addition to meeting locally individually, all community blueprint teams meet jointly in and around Beckley monthly.

The groups will have workshops May 30, July 25, Sept. 26 and Nov. 21.

Subsequent technical assistance will be provided to the groups through March 2014.

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