By ANDREA LANNOM
Daily Mail Staff
City officials and local business owners are looking to breathe new life into a downtown Beckley site, where a fire destroyed two buildings.
The January 2012 fire consumed Trio Consignment Shop, Copy Xpress and a vacant city-owned building on the corner of Neville and South Heber Street.
The city building, which once held the Blue Roo and a bail bondsman's office, was vacant for a while but was leased by a local congregation. The congregation planned to renovate the space to use as a church.
Although no one was injured in the blaze, the structures were a loss, leaving behind a hole in the downtown community.
Beckley City Councilman Tom Sopher said local business owners and city officials have a few ideas to revitalize the space.
The property is divided in half, Sopher said, with the city on one side and Beckley attorney John Mize owning the other half.
Mize, who could not be reached for comment Monday, plans to use the property for his law office. A Beckley developer wanted the city to buy the property to use as a park to include a statue of the late Robert C. Byrd but Mize didn't want to sell the property, Sopher said.
Sopher said Mize also has talked about reconfiguring the building to create a parking lot and a water fountain, if he gets the corner property.
For the city's property, Sopher said officials want to cut back 10 to 12 feet on each side to "soften" the corner and ease travel through the intersection.