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BRC preparing for tourist industry

May 23, 2009
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer

Sometimes we become so wrapped up in what's going on in our own neighborhood that we miss all the activity that's going on in the surrounding communities. One such example is Belington, which, like Elkins, is working very hard to make the most of their resources to revitalize their community. This was brought to my attention recently by Chris Sauerwein, chairman of the Belington Revitalization Committee.

Since the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad so closely link our two communities, let's look at what they are doing - on close examination, not a lot different from what's being done in Elkins. In his letter, Sauerwein said, "I believe that as our situation improves, Belington has the potential to be a participant in regional tourism."

First, Belington was, as most now know, appointed in February as an ONTRAC participant as was Elkins and Beverly. Everyone is, of course, working toward making that a success and will then, if the program is successful, make the decision as to whether they will go on to the Main Street Program.

According to Sauerwein, Belington had two teams attend the Power of Ten Revitalization Conference for three days in Fayetteville. The town has also benefited from a recent intensive Community Design Study conducted by the WVU Extension Service.

Three projects are either under way or receiving preliminary engineering and design study. The pedestrian trail, commonly referred to as "Riverwalk," through the initiative of the BRC has received a certificate of approval for Phase I of the project and $40,000 from the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Along with the money, they received a letter of expeditious review for Phase II that could lead to additional funding. The total project cost, if approved, is estimated to be $100,000, with the city of Belington contributing $20,000. Phase I is expected to be completed by January 2010 and Phase II could be completed the following year pending final approval.

According to Sauerwein, the Riverwalk will provide a walking trail that connects downtown Belington with the city park. He said, "Our hope is that it will also be a first step in enhancing the train tourism experience for those who board the Tygart Flyer in Belington.

"It is widely agreed that routing a portion of the trail along the river will provide a scenic benefit that will encourage trail use by visitors, train tourists and local residents. That portion of the trail would likely be paved, with benches, streetlamps and fitness trail features," Sauerwein added.

According to Sauerwein, Freedom Bank has purchased a building adjacent to the railroad boarding area for community use by the BRC. The BRC has proposed to renovate the building to replicate the depot where train passengers can be welcomed with tourist facilities and bathrooms. The hope is that it may also be used as a visitor's center and community building.

Sauerwein also indicated that his committee hopes to develop the vacant lot that adjoins the proposed depot into a town square to be used for town activities. He said that the BRC has permission to use the lot and has "spruced up" the area into a green space with the help of community volunteers. "However," he said, "the property needs to be acquired to develop it fully, and we are looking into these options."

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will conduct two 10-hour OSHA 10 courses for general industry and construction at Davis & Elkins College on Thursday. The classes will be in Room 400 of the Science Center beginning at 8 a.m. A continental breakfast and registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. Lunch is provided.

Attendees may choose one of the two free OSHA courses which are: OSHA Standards 1926: (Construction) covering general safety and health provisions; electrical; fall protection; competent person; materials handling and storage; motor vehicles; mechanized equipment and construction equipment; scaffolding; excavations and stairways and ladders, and The OSHA Standards 1910 (General Industry) covering inspections, citations and penalties; record keeping; working surfaces; exit routes; emergency action plans, fire prevention plans and fire protection; electrical; flammable and combustible liquids; lockout/tagout; material handling; machine guarding; hazardous communications and industrial hygiene.

You may register by calling 304-637-9639 or by e-mail at Attendees completing the course will be issued an OSHA 10 card.

Allegheny Insurance Services, BrickStreet Insurance and OSHA are sponsoring the classes.

It's "oops" time again. In the May 9 issue of this column, I wrote that I attended the Lucky Enough Show Time band's show at the Elks Club on Saturday evening, implying that the shows are on Saturdays this year as they were last year. The performance I attended was on Friday evening as all their performances are this year. If you plan to attend their show, keep this in mind.

Appalachian Forest Heritage Area AmeriCorps and The Riverside Association will present a documentary on May 30 at the Randolph County Community Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. that tells the tale of this historic school through the experiences of Riverside alumni, with a question and answer session afterward. Admission is $10 with the proceeds going to help preserve the Riverside School building. Coffee, tea and homemade desserts will be served. For more information, call 304-636-6182.

Advertising Account Executive Sandy Burky introduced her new magazine "WV Living - Celebrating Life in the Mountain State" to those attending the Downtown Merchant's meeting on May 5. Published quarterly, the first issue arrived on the newsstands in January. The summer issue, according to Burky, will be out late this month. The fall issue, which will be on the newsstand in late September, will feature Elkins stories. You may also visit the Web site at



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