Jim Chambers, President of the Downtown Beckley Business Association (DBBA), was born and raised in Beckley, WV where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. A retired coal miner, Jim and his wife Nancy who serves as Secretary for the DBBA decided to invest in property on Neville Street in 2014. But in 2014 the Beckley Historic District was warned by the State Historic Preservation Office that the district could be removed from the National Register of Historic Places due to the demolition and alteration of historic properties. Jim and state preservationist David Sibray created the DBBA out of what they felt was a need to protect historic downtown property and to educate property owners about tax credits available to them through a federal program.
In the 18 months of its existence the DBBA has established itself into an official 501C3 and holds monthly meetings with educational workshops that are open to the public. So far the workshops have included presentations by the State Historic Preservation Office, architects, engineers, the Beckley Historic Landmark Commission, Preservation Alliance of WV and Senator Shelley Moore Capito.
The mission of the DBBA is to serve local businesses, property owners, and the greater community to engage in the revitalization of downtown Beckley. To aid in this effort the NRGRDA’s Community Development Extension Agent for Raleigh County was appointed as the liaison for the On-Trac program that the DBBA is working toward. Through acceptance into the On Trac program DBBA hopes to regain the Main Street status Beckley once held. This federal program offers technical assistance to historic districts.
Working toward the On-Trac goal, the DBBA has created a Public Art Committee to enhance the historic district through public art including sculptures and murals. The DBBA is also currently finalizing an assessment of the downtown businesses to create an updated inventory. The vision that began with Jim and David is coming together by educating the public through monthly meetings, workshops, social media information sharing and bringing the downtown community together to accomplish positive goals for Beckley.
The DBBA officers include President Jim Chambers, VP Robert Dunlap, Secretary Nancy Chambers, and Treasurer Joe Kubin. Officer elections will be held July 2016. If you would like to support the DBBA and their efforts to revitalize Downtown Beckley you may visit the DBBA’s facebook page or email Jim Chambers at firstname.lastname@example.org.