PINEVILLE — Bell County is competing with a rapidly changing world in terms of technology, the economy and and industry. Although we already embrace many of the county’s natural resources, small businesses and potential; the time is now to decide on the future of Bell County for the generations to come.
A portion of the community participated in a community assessment survey conducted by the Kentucky Association of Economic Development (KAED) during the summer of ‘08 — residents completed a survey, sharing their thoughts on Bell County’s pros and cons. The evaluations didn’t stop there.
Representatives from KAED returned to Bell County to share the collective responses with the community through a number of meetings and in turn made some professional recommendations. Steps are still being taken to develop a vision for where and how this community should be.
The assessment team strongly recommended that the county undergo a comprehensive strategic planning process. Strategic planning will establish priorities, develop consensus and buy-in for the community.
“This is a community project,” stated Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock. “This is our chance to come together and think about the future and find ways to capture new opportunities and solve old challenges.”
For this reason, Judge Brock and more than 100 residents of Bell County have pre-registered to attend the first ever Bell County Summit on the Future beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday at Pine Mountain State Resort Park. Residents, agencies, civic organizations and county leaders will gather throughout the day to discuss and propose ideas for the future of Bell County. However, pre-registry is not required, the community is encouraged to attend the summit and determine the future of this county.
The University of Kentucky’s national award winning community development representative Lori Garkovich will interact with summit attendants, noting important information about the county’s values, resources, challenges and visions. Ultimately, Garkovich will interpret this information and help summit attendants articulate a goal for the county as a whole.
“It is critical that we come together as a group of people who value this community,” stated Judge Brock.
Lunch will be served during the course of the summit and is expected to conclude at 4 p.m. “This is our opportunity to begin shaping the future of our community,” stated Judge Brock.
The summit is being made possible through a federal grant source known as Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). ARC has a sole purpose to assist and diversify Appalachian economics away from the coal industry.
Sarah Miracle is a staff writer for the Daily News. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.