Kiwanis Club Hosts Berwind Discussion with County Commission

Submitted by Debbie King

WAR, WV – On Tuesday evening, October 1, the Kiwanis Club of War hosted a public meeting with the McDowell County Commissioners in order to learn of any updates concerning Berwind Lake.

All three commissioners were in attendance as well as Berwind Lake volunteer and EDA Board member Barry Hale.  

Each Commissioner and Mr. Hale were given five minutes to make any statement concerning updates at the lake or any future plans.  Afterwards, each of the eighteen local residents from War and Bradshaw areas was given an opportunity to ask a question of the commissioners or Mr. Hale.

Several positive things were learned at this meeting:  Six small cabins, called campers by the manufacturer, will be opened and are already rented for October 15. 

Three units are larger and sleep six; the other three smaller units sleep four people. To learn of daily or weekly rental rates, one can call the EDA at 304 436-3833. The first occupants of the rental units will be a forty-two member film crew that will be making a documentary of the area.  

Someone will be hired to check-in those lodging at the lake and will be on site beginning October 15.  Every effort is being made to secure land to set up another six units at/near Berwind Lake.  

The group learned that the EDA will be offering workshops or classes to assist local people to obtain a contractor’s license so that our own people will have an opportunity to bid on various projects as they open up in the county.

Perhaps the most positive and encouraging result of this public meeting was the transparency, mutual respect, and open communication exhibited by the commissioners and the public at large. Questions were asked, suggestions freely given, and any or all of the guest speakers were given an opportunity to respond.

Those in attendance acknowledged there is much work to be done to build a strong community and economy. Commissioner Estep invited folks to learn more when Tourism Commissioner Ruby comes to the County in November. In addition, anyone interested in improving War and Berwind Lake areas were encouraged to attend the next meeting of the Community Team Leadership Corps(TLC) to be held October 17, at 5:30 at Calvary Baptist Church in War.

In summary, this public meeting didn’t magically solve the many problems facing McDowell County.  However, it did renew a sense of hope in this participant as ordinary citizens spoke reasonably and presented several solid ideas. It will be exciting to see where this hope, hard work, and determination takes the people of McDowell County.