For business professionals who wish to clean out their closets for the New Year, the city of Beckley has an organization that will take business-style clothing items and use them for a good cause.
During the regular meeting of the Beckley Common Council on Tuesday, Robert Dunlap, Ward 3 council member, explained that he, along with Dr. Kristi Dumas of the Dumas Psychological Collective, has partnered together to help provide clothing to women who are interested in local business opportunities. The organization is called the Beckley Success Closet.
“This was predominantly the brainchild of Dr. Dumas,” Dunlap said. “I was happy to construct the closet and I had the space for it.”
Dunlap explained that the primary focus of the Beckley Success Closet is to help women who wish to enter into business, but they will accept suits and professional attire for men as well.
On Monday, January 18, the organization will open their doors from 10 a.m until 1 p.m. for donors to drop-off clothing. The collection will take place at the rear entrance of 208 Main Street in Beckley. This is the office location of Dunlap and Associates.
“We have a huge steering team of brilliant women who have put this together,” Dunlap said.
In addition to helping women look the part, the Beckley Success Closet has volunteers to provide career counseling and resumé production.
“We need to help folks find more business opportunities in the city and if this helps that one person go to the bank to get a loan to start that small business, then we should be able to facilitate that in any way we can,” Dunlap said. “This is reaching beyond just helping folks find clothes. It’s about making sure that we are doing the supportive things necessary to encourage business in our city.”
For those who wish to benefit from these services, they should call the Dumas Psychological Collective and schedule an appointment.
In other business, Mayor Rob Rappold noted that construction has resumed on New River Drive and while city officials had hoped construction would be completed soon, the construction crew has met another problem that will delay completion of the project.
“That project is much more complicated and more demanding than maybe was first realized,” Rappold said.
According to Rappold, the crew wanted to get the box culverts in this week, but the current concrete buttresses that they had planned to leave in the channel to place the culverts on were determined to be too high to maintain the gravity of water flow. As a result, those supports must be taken down to a size that will accept the box culverts.
“It won’t be as long as it has been, and we look forward to a project that, when completed, will be a lifetime repair for that drainage channel under New River Drive,” Rappold said.
Councilmember At-Large Cody Reedy stated that he has been silent regarding the ongoing construction on New River Drive because he is on the board of the Moose Lodge and his father is the administrator there. However, he explained that the Moose Lodge, which is located along New River Drive, has been negatively affected by the road closure.
“Our numbers went down anywhere from $1,000 to $1,200 a week on this over a five month span and we are already dealing with COVID,” Reedy said. “That is just killing our numbers.”
“I just really don’t see how a five month project is worth a lifetime fix, as you say, where the culvert we had in there before lasted for over 30, almost 40 years,” Reedy said to the mayor. “I mean that could have been a two-week process. I feel like we should do something to help not only the Moose, but we should do something to help the daycare.”
Reedy continued that the town should find some way to help these two businesses financially. He stated that the Moose Lodge had already reached out to the city for financial help regarding storm water fees and business and occupation tax, but were told they could only be set up on a payment plan.
“At the end of the day, this is our fault that this road is shut down and we are making these businesses lose revenue,” Reedy said.
Rappold responded by saying that a lot of what Reedy wanted “just wasn’t possible.”
He said that the city couldn’t offer business and occupation tax reductions or give any business special treatment while others suffer from financial loss as well.
Also discussed during the meeting was an idea that could bring more Christmas cheer to the city.
Ward 4 Council Member Kevin Price asked if the city of Beckley could expand the Christmas light display at the Exhibition Coal Mine to New River Park during the next holiday.
Price said that a drive through Christmas display would be a nice addition to the city and one that residents could enjoy year after year.
Council members and the mayor agreed to look into this expansion and determine the possible cost.
William Laxton from Laxton’s Auto Repair on Johnstown Road addressed the council stating that he is the only city wrecker service that pays business and occupation tax, but he is considering an expansion that would place his business outside of city limits.
He told the council he felt that his business should get more support from the city since he is currently facing an increase in city property tax rates and that the city sales tax rates might keep more customers from utilizing his services.
Laxton mentioned the rotation schedule for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and stated that priority should be given to services located in the city first.
Rappold responded that the city is compelled to use the rotation schedule given by the EOC, but that he will continue to look into the matter to see what the city obligations are.
Rappold also mentioned that the city is continuing work on fixing the blinking traffic lights, including those at the intersections of Neville Street and Leslie C. Gates and at Prince Street and North Kanawha.
There is no date set for completion on these fixes, but Rappold said that the Department of Highways is working at night to fix the problem.