The Clinch River Valley Initiative (CRVI) is a grassroots effort to enhance opportunities for outdoor recreation, downtown revitalization, local entrepreneurship, environmental education, and water quality in the Clinch River Valley with many local, regional, and state partners. A day-long meeting in September of 2010, Building Local Economies in Southwest Virginia, brought together a diverse array of people striving to boost local economies and build community resilience in the coalfields region of Southwest Virginia.
The Building Local Economies meeting attracted approximately 60 community stakeholders representing various community groups, local and regional organizations, and government officials. By assessing the opportunities and barriers for collaboration expressed by stakeholders at this meeting, meeting participants agreed to a series of creative solutions. The group collectively arrived at several priorities including downtown community planning with outdoor recreation on the Clinch River, enhancing community-based assets, establishing a regional collaborative for local food systems planning, increasing regional collaboration, and cross-sector visioning.
Several additional meetings followed, leading to what eventually was called the Clinch River Valley Initiative. Community stakeholders identified five primary goals for the effort, resulting in five community-led action groups to further develop each goal. Action groups are developing plans, timelines, and funding strategies to help realize their goals. These groups, each with one or more chairs helping to coordinate the group, meet regularly to further refine and coordinate their next steps and actions.
The CRVI Steering Committee is the coordinating body for the Clinch River Valley Initiative. The Steering Committee is composed of a voluntary group of citizens and officials who coordinate the progress of the CRVI. Decisions are made by consensus, and participants represent citizens, Clinch River communities, regional and state officials, and other interested members. The Steering Committee is also a representative group for the overall Initiative and helps oversee the development of legislative outreach, funding strategies, public relations, and marketing tools on its behalf. It also assists with communication amongst action groups and participants in the overall Clinch River Valley Initiative (see Appendix A for an overview of Steering Committee Guidelines).
The support and aid from numerous local, regional, and state partners have been key in the development of the Clinch River Valley Initiative to date. Funding for the effort has been provided by the Virginia Department of Forestry, US Forest Service, Appalachian Regional Commission/ VA Dept. of Housing and Community Development, Blue Moon Fund, Virginia Tourism Commission, and the University of Virginia.
This document, the Clinch River Valley Initiative Action Plan, is intended for use as an active, working document for action group coordination, planning next steps, and project identification and implementation, and it will continue to be refined over time. Please contact Christine Gyovai at 434-982-6464 or firstname.lastname@example.org to join the effort, with any updates or changes.
This project was made possible by the USDA Forest Service/VA Dept. of Forestry, the Dept. of Housing and Community Development/Appalachian Regional Commission, the Blue Moon Fund, and the University of Virginia for supporting this effort.