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Mercer residents sound off to economic panel

Bluefield Daily Telegraph photo Co-Chairman of the Southern Coalfield Organizing and Revitalizing the Economy Sen. Art Kirkendoll, Senate President Jeff Kessler, and Sen. Ron Miller listen to input from community members.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph photo
Co-Chairman of the Southern Coalfield Organizing and Revitalizing the Economy Sen. Art Kirkendoll, Senate President Jeff Kessler, and Sen. Ron Miller listen to input from community members.

PRINCETON, W.Va. — Sen. President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, Sen. Art Kirkendoll, D-Logan, and Sen. Ron Miller, D-Greenbrier, represented the Southern Coalfields Organizing and Revitalizing the Economy, SCORE, task force in Princeton Thursday night.

Area residents used SCORE as a sounding board for local issues and ideas.

Some of the ideas brought to the table by residents was a new rail system, making a center for clean coal technology at Bluefield State College, and looking for ways to make it easier on residents to get higher education.

“It’s time that we consider the rail system our asset to bring economic development to the four counties. This rail system would be an enormous undertaking, but would turn us into the next Gatlinburg,” John Fanary said.

Another resident agreed with the idea for the rail system. “I’d love to see a big West Virginia painted train pull up into Mullins,” Nathan Acosta said.

One citizen had concerns about jobs locally. “We have a lot of needs in West Virginia. To me the solution is jobs that pay a living wage. This all comes with infrastructure…

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