About 42,000 of Kanawha County's people live east of Charleston. As the Upper Kanawha Valley Enterprise Community notes, residents of that area have little access to recreation facilities.
The main roads running through this tight upper part of the valley - U.S. 60 and W.Va. 61 - are entirely unsuited for walkers and runners, for example. And residents would have to travel pretty far to reach recreational spots or exercise facilities.
The Upper Kanawha Valley group announced plans last year for a health and recreation center for the area. Spokesman Fred Joseph said the group now has a verbal agreement to lease property near Riverside High School.
It also has a dream for what it hopes to develop over the long term: A 90,000-square-foot recreation center with two pools, a weight room, locker rooms, a gymnasium, an indoor track, a climbing wall, offices and meeting space.
Outdoors, the group envisions building basketball, volleyball and tennis courts; a playground; and eventually a small marina and picnic area along the river.
It's an ambitious plan, but the needs are surely there.
Here's hoping the Upper Kanawha Valley Homecoming Festival, scheduled for Aug. 14-17, will serve to raise awareness and support for a long-term development project to meet those needs.
The festival will be held at Riverside High School, and feature live entertainment, food and crafts, and the crowning of the first Miss Upper Kanawha Valley.
The enterprise community is now seeking sponsors for the festival, hoping for gifts ranging from $100 to $20,000.
A lot of good people have come out of the upper Kanawha Valley over the decades, and they know these needs firsthand. Surely some will come forward to lend their support.
The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 16 at the enterprise community's center in Chelyan.
More information may be found online at quincyreccenter.com.