A consultant’s positive experience at Westmoreland State Park is playing a role in proposed future plans for the economic development of Westmoreland County.
Sharing interests with residents of the area, consultant John Rhodes said he plans to incorporate their desires into
the next Economic Development Strategic Plan.
“The county has some pretty interesting perceptions of what it is and wants to be, or where it doesn’t want to go, said Rhodes, a consultant with Moran, Stahl & Boyer, who was hired by county. “What I tried to do is put together ideas to enhance agriculture, businesses and tourism.”
Rhodes first visited Westmoreland in 1961 when his family was in need of shelter for the night from the rain and Westmoreland State Park was the choice.
“That place is still nice. A beautiful park,” Rhodes said. “My experiences there really made me want to bid on the project because I wanted to come back. As an adult I wanted to make a positive contribution to a place that I cherished as a child.”
Since that time the consultant has assisted on other economic development projects in Alleghany, James City and Goochland Counties.
Rhodes said one of the challenges facing the committee is where Westmoreland is located in relation to the interstate and economic development.
“It doesn’t help that you’re off the beaten path,” Rhodes said. “You just have to be a little more creative.”
Bob Fink, director of planning and community development for Westmoreland County, said the last strategic plan created was done approximately 20 years ago. Fink said some of Rhodes’ proposals have caught the attention of the planning committee, but they are still some time away from deciding on a final product.
“There are a number of proposals that all seem appropriate for the county. It’s just a matter of the what priorities are and work best,” Fink said.
The final plan to the board of supervisors will not be submitted until Nov. 13. Fink said he is encouraging the public to attend future strategic planning committee meetings.
Members of the county board of supervisors, planning commission and Industrial Development Authority are scheduled to meet with the strategic planning committee on Oct. 7 to discuss the draft.