By Wendy Holdren
Sophia Blueprint Community members met Monday to continue discussing how to improve Sophia and all the surrounding communities.
Chairman Steve Frame, owner of FJ Marketing, said participants at the meeting talked about their big plan to bring a rail system to the area.
“We’re focusing on more than just Sophia. Our biggest goal, which will take years to accomplish, is to work with the existing rail system to bring an excursion trail to go through the southern part of the coalfields.”
He said the Blueprint group hopes to see this area become more of a tourist destination. They want to resurrect the coal camps so tourists can see what it was like many years ago, which could potentially spark other tourist attractions.
Within Blueprint Communities, there are four groups: tourism, economic development, civic engagement and beautification.
Frame said for economic development, they are trying to pull the businesses together to communicate and network.
As for civic engagement, they’re trying to reach out to community members to become a part of this effort. And as for beautification, they will focus on revitalizing building fronts, creating parks and revamping the sidewalks and lighting.
Sophia was first named a Blueprint Community in February last year, and the group has been working ever since to formulate a plan to help revitalize the area.
“Of course we have times where it gets overwhelming, but our biggest focus is trying to get more people involved. The more people we have, the easier it will be.”
The next meeting will be held at Burning Rock next month.
Frame said meetings are typically held on the second Monday each month, but check at www.sophiawva.org for confirmation.
For more information about the effort or to find out how you can help, contact Steve Frame at 850-348-0560.
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