Who would Benefit?

Essentially the entire region. Obviously, the communities that would benefit the most would be the small localities located on the Rt. 20 corridor, Athens, Pipestem, Hinton, Sandstone, etc. Then the city of Princeton, WV would benefit from the increased traffic passing by I-77 and Rt. 460. The counties of Mercer and Summers would see an immediate boost to their economy. That benefit would then trickle down to all communities located in those counties. Bluefield, Bluewell, Bramwell in Mercer County would benefit from the increased traffic into the area. These communities could also benefit from the local attractions such as the Hatfield and McCoy ATV trails. In addition, increased traffic coming from the West where I-81 intersects Rt. 460/Rt. 19 would increase traffic traveling through Southwest, VA through Tazewell, VA and into Bluefield, WV.

Counties such as McDowell, Wyoming, Mingo and Monroe could also benefit from the added "influx" of people and could themselves develop attractions to capitalize from the boast in the "Pipestem economy."

Some local people may feel that this "would be the end of their community." Realistically when viewed at a macro level, the footprint of an endeavor such as this is relativity small and would not disrupt "the country living" that so many people in the region enjoy. The "footprint" of the Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg Tennessee is very small when viewed in context with the surrounding area. There are many, many rural areas around the region that are not directly affected by the tourists.

In addition, other initiatives such as the King Coal Highway http://www.wvkingcoal.com/ could benefit and contribute to the Pipestem Plan. Initiatives such as converting the Bluestone Dam into a Hydroelectric Power Generating Station https://www.lrh.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Current-Projects/Bluestone-Hydropower/ could be heavily justified due to the increased power demand that would come from the economic development of the area.

Traffic coming from the West via Rt 19/460 from Abingdon, VA through Tazewell county Virginia and Bluefield, WV would increase. Thereby increasing business opportunities by adding more exposure to the area.

Traffic coming from the East via Rt. 460 from Blacksburg, VA through Glen Lyn, WV and Oakvale, WV would increase. Thereby increasing business opportunities.