Grant approved for Cedar Bluff downtownVery exciting? That depends on your perspective. How does any of this equate to economic growth? In the cases of Tazewell and Buchanan Counties, economic recovery?
By Angie Arms, Richlands News-Press Staff
Cedar Bluff – Recently $17.2 million in enhancement grants were approved by the Department of Transportation as part of the Transportation Enhancement Program, the two largest grants being allotted to two local southwest Virginia projects.
Cedar Bluff was granted $350,000 for the construction of sidewalks, lighting, bike racks, and interpretive signage along Old Kentucky Turnpike adjacent to Indian Creek.
Town Manager Jim McGlothlin said this is phase two of a four phase project that will add greatly to the downtown area of the Town.
“It’s very exciting,” said McGlothlin. “It’s very competitive and some don’t get those funds at all.”
The project, said McGlothlin is an endeavor to instill pride, community togetherness and pedestrian safety in the Town of Cedar Bluff.
Receiving the largest amount of grant money was the Jewell Valley Greenway project in Buchanan County. The project will be for the construction of a bicycle/hiking trail on an abandoned railroad in the amount of $400,000. The total cost for this project is estimated at $1,080,000 ... (link)
Cedar Bluff continues to lose population (1.8% since 2000). Nearby Buchanan County, where that $1 million bike path is being carved into the forest, is estimated to have lost one tenth of its citizens in just the last six years. The poverty rate there is twice the state average. Per capita income is little better than a third of that which the average Virginian earns in a year's time. One third.
Bike paths and interpretive signs may indeed instill pride in people. Those that remain behind. But hope for the future would be even better. Hope brought about by a viable economic recovery plan.
In lieu of that prospect, look forward to our political aristocracy, like that of pre-revolution France tossing coins to the masses from the calèche, tossing more hush money - bike racks! - at an ever-shrinking, ever-more impoverished, but easily placated populace.