CASTING A COMPELLING VISION TO ENHANCE THE OUTDOOR ECONOMY, SMALL BUSINESS, AND QUALITY OF LIFE

TO CREATE A COMMUNITY-LED VISION AND 15-YEAR ROADMAP TO BUILD DESTINATION-QUALITY OUTDOOR RECREATION INFRASTRUCTURE THAT IGNITES A SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC IMPACT.

Plan Renderings

Before
after
A New Gateway to Downtown Beckley
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after
Nevelle Street Curbless "Woonerf" Design
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after
Downtown Gravity Bike Park
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after
Imagining a New Shoemaker Square
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after
Exhibition Coal Mine Riders Village

Plan Purpose

The vision of Beckley Outdoors is to establish the City of Beckley as a premier outdoor destination that celebrates southern West Virginia's Appalachian heritage. The initiative aims to leverage outdoor assets, such as New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and Piney Creek Preserve, to enhance quality of life, revitalize downtown, and create a vibrant outdoor economy. By identifying opportunities to develop and improve unique outdoor infrastructure like trails, rock climbing areas, destination-quality parks, public art, and multi-use public spaces, the City will attract and retain residents, businesses, students, and visitors. As we collectively think about the future of the City of Beckley, local leaders and community members are invited to offer input into the Beckley Outdoors Economic Action Plan. Together, we are creating a compelling vision for a one-of-a-kind Appalachian city.

“The City’s sustainable competitive advantage in the national economy is in our people and in Beckley’s outdoors.” ~ Rob Rappold, Mayor

Plan Goals

IDENTIFY

Inventory existing outdoor recreation economy assets within the City of Beckley and New River Gorge region, and evaluate their current condition and ability to provide for a quality user experience.

DISCOVER

Engage government officials, community leaders, and citizens to identify new outdoor recreation infrastructure projects that will fill gaps, support broader community goals, and promote the outdoor economy.

IMAGINE

Create an Outdoor Economy Action Plan that generates excitement and casts an inspiring vision with compelling renderings, site master plans, and 3-D illustrations to effectively communicate recommendations.

CULTIVATE

Develop unique partnerships between the City of Beckley, business leaders, and non-profit organizations to implement project recommendations that encourage small business growth, natural resource protection, workforce development, and active living for all ages and abilities.

ACT

Provide the the City of Beckley and their partners with clear strategies, potential funding sources, and a prioritization schedule for implementing the Outdoor Economy Action Plan.

Plan Process

1

PROJECT LAUNCH

Create a unique plan identity and promotional video for Beckley Outdoors that builds excitement with government leaders, community partners, and the public. Host a project website that informs about project goals, opportunities for engagement, and progress.

2

DISCOVERY AND ANALYSIS

Develop a database of existing outdoor recreation assets within Beckley and New River Gorge region. Review local and regional plans that identify opportunities and gaps. Examine economic data including demographic characteristics, business and industry data, and visitor trends.

3

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Conduct a series of interviews and focus groups with government officials, business leaders, and community members to discuss the following themes: outdoor recreation, economic development, arts and culture, natural resource protection, and active living. Gather input from citizens about desired priorities via an online survey and public forums.

4

PLAN DEVELOPMENT

Develop an action plan that includes the recommendations determined during the planning process, a phasing schedule, an estimate of probable costs, and an outline of grant funding sources.

Project Partners

Project Contact:

Mitch Lehman
Director of Outdoor Economic Development
City of Beckley
Phone: (304) 712-8524
Email: mitch.lehman@beckley.org

Corey Lilly
Chair, Beckley Outdoors
Manager, Outdoor Community Development
Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative, WVU 

Consultant:

Eric Woolridge, AICP
President
Destination by Design
Phone: (828) 386-1866
Email: [email protected]

Website produced by: Destination by Design