Was $450,000 wasted?

Dear Editor and fellow Greenbrier County residents:

I received my May/June 2017 issue of Blue Ridge Country- Exploring the Mountains of the South. I expected to find an advertisement for our beautiful Greenbrier County and all that it has to offer. I expected that the advertisement would point out that Greenbrier County was once again a destination for the touring public and it would mention reasons for coming to our area by listing events from throughout the county since the advertisement would be paid for through the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

How disappointing it was to find nothing about the West Virginia Dandelion Festival, the Alderson Strawberry Festival,, the Ronceverte River Festival, the Meadow River Valley, the commemoration of the June 23 flood anniversary and the dedication of two new parks in White Sulphur Springs, the Freedom Festival in Falling Spring, the Alderson July 4th Festival with the best fireworks display in West Virginia, the Ronceverte Expo at the Depot, and, of course, The Greenbrier Classic both in Tennis and Golf. These were not even listed in the state-by- state calendar of events for May and June.

What I found was a two-page advertisement with unidentified photos of Carnegie Hall with its sundial, some glass bottles, a statue on a brick pedestal, the Springhouse with daffodils, something strange, a page-wide photo of Washington Street in Lewisburg beginning with the Greenbrier Valley Theatre and a flag “Lewisburg Coolest Small Town in America,” a photo of Brick House Antiques complete with the shop sign, and an interior and an exterior photo of The Greenbrier.

Lewisburg is mentioned by name twice in print and once in the photo but no other towns, cities or villages in Greenbrier County are mentioned.

The wording of the block of printed information has six paragraphs. The first paragraph notes the historical information with the phrase about buildings and sites simply says, “Dating back to before the Civil War …” The second and third paragraphs describe Brick House Antiques and some of the reasons for visiting the antique stores and historic buildings.

A fourth paragraph describes the 50th anniversary of Greenbrier Valley Theatre, described as “a mainstay in Lewisburg’s downtown district…”

And the real topper was the fourth paragraph which opens with “Just 10 minutes from Lewisburg – and a few miles east on the centuries-old Midland Trail – The Greenbrier …” No mention that it is located in or next to White Sulphur Springs. Only Lewisburg is mentioned.

Is this what Greenbrier County’s Commission loaned $450,000 interest free to the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau so they could let the world know that “We have come back after the flood?” A spotlight of a town with probably the least flood damage of all in Greenbrier County does not sound like a message, “Greenbrier County is back.”

Should the three county commissioners and the cities of Alderson, Falling Spring, Quinwood, Rainelle, Rupert and White Sulphur Springs consider withholding funds from the Greenbrier County CVB for lack of service? I salute those in western Greenbrier who are now marketing that area as the “Meadow River Valley.”

My faith in CVBs was restored when I turned a few pages and saw the two page advertisement for the Pocahontas County Visitors and Convention Bureau. No mention of any community. A few businesses mentioned were scattered through the county; a sampling of events taking place in the county during the summer; and views of the Greenbrier River Trail; and an interior and exterior photos of unidentified tourist accommodations made up this advertisement.

Thank you,

Mike Williams


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