Richlands holds public forum to discuss revitalization

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 9:52 AM EDT
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RICHLANDS, Va. (WVVA) - On Thursday night Richlands citizens met with consulting firm representatives to discuss how to revitalize the town.

“There’s not really a reason to come here and frankly we can do better,” said citizen Jacob VanDyke

“We need help. We need help revitalizing our town and letting other people see how beautiful Richlands is. To bring it back to its former glory,” said town council member Laura Mollo

The town recently received $50,000 for revitalization that, with the help of these consultants, they hope to turn into $1 million in grant funding to reinvigorate the town.

“Appalachia is experiencing unprecedented interested from both public and private funding sources and our hope is to provide the community with a plan that is actionable so they can revitalize their town,” said Joey James of Downstream Strategies.

The focus of revitalization is on a roughly 15 block area from Front St. to Second St. At the meeting residents were able to visually label problem areas in the town- as well as areas they enjoy.

“Going up there and looking at the charts, the same areas are marked. The same areas I planned on marking were marked by ten other people before me,” said VanDyke.

The river that runs through the town was a common focus

“Richlands has a natural asset coursing through it for millions of years, and that is the Clinch River. The development of it could lead to benefits for everyone young and old,” said Richlands Mayor, Rod Curry

An overarching theme of the meeting is that Richlands residents love where they live.

“We love our town,” said citizen Jeff Hurst.

This meeting was the first installment in a three part series. The next will take place online on April 28th at 4pm. It will be an online meeting, but there will be a viewing party at the Richlands Town Hall.

Residents who have not given their input yet are still able to fill out the online survey and have their opinions heard.