JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
WILLIAMSON - At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Mingo County Commission heard a round-up of events taking place that will attract visitors to the area.
Bill Richardson, WVU Extension Agent, thanked MCC for its contributions toward the Matewan Depot replica, noting that it was a very important part of the tourism picture. He gave a short list of plans and events in the area, such as the railroad excursion this weekend, which is expected to bring 2,000 visitors to the city, and a geocaching event in September that could bring 500 potential visitors for the weekend.
He said paranormal investigators that recently toured some Hatfield McCoy sites, three television programs and three possible reality series set in the Tug Valley are in the works. Richardson said there were currently six motorcoach tours, and four tours in Pike and Mingo Counties.
“The Commission has asked for a strategic plan, and we are working on that,” Richardson said. “We will have it ready to present to you at your next meeting on Aug. 15.”
Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith thanked Richardson for his dedication.
“I really appreciate everything you are doing,” Smith said. “We are having better communication, and unification to pool our resources better.”
In other business, MCC heard concerns from June Jude, who House of Hope, a local food bank, asking for financial assistance. She said the amount of food she has been receiving from the Huntington Food Bank had declined, and costs of operation were escalating at a time when the need of low income persons is growing.
The Commission had asked Jude to look into a different location, as the rent on their building in Delbarton is an expense that cuts into the amount the organization spends to feed those people it serves. She said she had searched for a new home for House of Hope, but there was nothing that cost any less. MCC told Jude they had a location in mind for her to use free of charge, but that they were not at liberty to disclose where it is.
“It might not be right where you are now, but it will be rent-free,” Commission Smith told Jude. “Tell your landlord if he wants to keep you (as a tenant) he needs to give you a break.”
The Commission received a status report from Smith about a fishing pier the county hopes to install on Laurel Lake. The pier is a “floating pier,” it raises and lowers with the level of the lake, Smith said. He said there were questions about the stability of the pier. He said he would continue to oversee that project.
MCC also gave financial support to local area fire departments, a Civil War reenactment in Gilbert, the Wildwood Garden Club, and Save Our Strays, a local animal shelter, and other local organizations.