DELBARTON – At a regular meeting of the Delbarton City Council, council members discussed the possibilities that will be available to the city with the Memorial Day opening of the Devil Anse Trail on the Hatfield and McCoy Trail System.
Councilman Mark Sizemore opened the discussion stating, “They are going to be opening the Devil Anse Trail. Matewan is going to be the center of it. The thing that works in our favor is that they are changing the signage on the four- lane where people will come through Delbarton to get to Matewan or to Gilbert. They will be going through here first and that will help us a lot.”
Sizemore continued, discussing that a lack of lodging is hindering the growth of tourism for the trail system. “The thing that they need is more housing. They grow about ten percent every year but they aren’t seeing a ten percent increase in places to stay every year. That keeps them from growing the way that they could… I talked to Leasha Johnson (Executive Director of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority) yesterday evening and she said that any time we want to get a group together here in our town, they would be glad to work with us any way that they could,” Sizemore stated.
Delbarton Mayor, John Preece joined the discussion stating, “We are one of the few municipalities that has access to all three of the major trails. You can come here and ride any of the three major trails and that isn’t true of other places. The skies are opening up in terms of this community being in focus on the Hatfield and McCoy system….They really need more lodging facilities. Our plan is to try to get this meeting together and see who is interested and who will be willing to step out. Loans are available…We are in a prime position for people who want to get involved.”
Sizemore discussed other possibilities that are available in connection with the trail system. “There are a lot of other things too… There are going to be opportunities for people to transport; come pick you up and take you back to your campground. They need more restaurants and entertainment. Every Saturday night we have entertainment (referring to the Delbarton Opry House) and there are all kinds of stuff that the city does throughout the year that people could take part in,” Sizemore stated.
Preece responded stating, “We are near the geographical center. We do have some facilities. We are not broke in terms of lodging. In regard to the trail committee, we want to have a meeting and the Hatfield and McCoy people are willing to come back. Leasha Johnson with the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority (MCRA) wants to come and discuss their input into it. We need to schedule this pretty soon and get people involved. This is a real possibility. It isn’t some pipe dream anymore. It is real. Things can happen.”
Sizemore agreed stating, “I think so too. We all want economic development and we all want to diversify but no one wants to step out and do anything.”
Councilman Ralph Maynard agreed. “I believe if they can get that track (Twin Branch) going up there on 119, you will see a lot more people in here to ride this trail and ride the track. They will come by here looking for a place to stay,” Maynard stated.
The discussion concluded with Preece stating, “I would like to coordinate with you guys. We need to grab this and work it.”
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)