To the Editor:
A diverse group of college professors, community center representatives, local officials, and interested citizens have had a series of meetings at Campbell’s Branch, Kingdom Come, and Blackey. Members of the group are sharing their plans, projects, and ideas for promoting tourism, improving the environment, and boosting the economy in Letcher County. The effort covers those who would like help in establishing new businesses or improving existing ones.
Some of the projects are already in place while others are visions to be created and implemented. The Campbell’s Branch and Kingdom Come Settlement Schools already have weekday jam sessions and weekend musical events, and off er a variety of social and cultural services to their communities. Future ventures are in various planning stages, under the careful supervision and guidance of experts from Berea College.
The October meeting at Kingdom Come was directed by Berea College Assistant to the President, Dr. Cheyennne Olsen, who gave a tutorial on fundraising and other means to economic independence. In December, Dr. Peter Hackbert, chair of Berea College Entrepreneurship for the Common Good, guided the group through the formation of business plans. The January meeting, at the Blackey Library, was a review of business plans of the earlier attendees, augmented by the attendance of people who are looking for assistance in starting their own private, for-profit business. It included discussion of future steps.
The meetings have covered a range of subjects:
— improving the county’s trail system and letting people know about opportunities to view black bears.
— continuing the annual fall Chestnut Festival and the spring bluegrass festival.
— identifying locations for the reforestation of the American Chestnut tree.
— establishing a pre-school at Kingdom Come and developing drama events at Campbell’s Branch.
— continuing Campbell’s Branch’s training classes.
— producing educational and informative videos of black bears, chestnuts, history, and nature.
— exploring the feasibility of establishing a wood-working business and a bakery in the county.
The next meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday, February 22 at the Blackey Public Library. Those who wish additional information may call 633-9546.