The Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the City of Beckley has submitted an application to America’s Best Communities, a competition sponsored by Frontier Communications, Dish TV and CoBank. The national competition is envisioned as a way for the sponsoring companies to invest in the revitalization of America’s rural heartland and small cities and to reward community partnerships. The contest will ultimately invest millions of dollars into those communities who demonstrate the most promise.

“This contest is designed to challenge a community’s brightest and most innovative thinkers to develop meaningful strategies and plans that will transform their town or city,” said Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO of Frontier Communications. “Whether ideas come from an individual or a group, visionaries in a community can effect powerful transformations. And the $10 million in support from Frontier and DISH is just the tip of the iceberg. As businesses join together to support their local community through the America’s Best Communities competition, there will be a multiplier effect that will expand the size and impact of the prize. Frontier is offering qualified applicants the resources they need to be their own agents for positive change.”

America’s Best Communities is a multi-stage, three-year contest that provides four million in seed money and other support to assist communities as they develop growth and revitalization plans. The top three communities will receive a total of six million in prize money. Only municipalities with populations of 9,500 to 80,000 and located within Frontier’s service areas were eligible to apply.

In April, judges will select up to 50 qualified applicants, awarding each with $35,000 to support the further development of their plan. Communities will then have until September 2015 to refine and submit their final proposals. Fifteen semifinalists will be selected in November 2015, and will attend America’s Best Communities summit in January 2016 to present their proposals. In early 2016, eight finalists will be selected and will be awarded $100,000 each. The prize money awarded to the eight finalists will be used to implement the communities’ plans and bring them to life, while sharing their stories – and successes – along the way. The America’s Best Communities top three competition winners – those with the most innovative, effective proposals – will be awarded a total of $6 million in Oct. 2017.

The application for Beckley was sponsored by the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of Beckley, the Beckley Area Foundation, the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and representatives from West Virginia State University Extension Service, Beckley Water Company, First Community Bank, United Bank and the Beckley Common Council.

Ellen Taylor, President and CEO of the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce explained that the American’s Best Communities competition has provided a unique opportunity for community partners to work together for a shared vision of community revitalization with a flourishing economy.

For more details about the competition, qualifications, timelines, and more, visit the America’s Best Communities website at: https://americasbestcommunities.com or watch an informational video at https://vimeo.com/119358977

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