Pearisburg public art

Pearisburg Day Trip

SUGGESTED ITINERARY | PEARISBURG DAY TRIP

 

Morning- Enjoy breakfast at Friends and Family Restaurant. Pearisburg is the county seat and as such there are many things to do and enjoy in this community.

 

For the rest of your morning delight in shopping and strolling the historic downtown. Pearis Mercantile is a premier gift shop in the region. Located just across the street from the Visitors Center (203 N. Main St), stop in to get a Visitors Guide, maps, and stickers. Other shopping includes the C&P Discount and small shops along Wenonah Avenue.

Pearis Mercantile Pearisburg, VA

Tour the Giles County Courthouse that was featured in the film, Wish You Well. The Andrew Johnston House and Museum is home to the Giles County Historical Society and is open seasonally (Mar-Dec) Wednesday through Sunday. Pearis Cemetery located less than a mile from the museum. The cemetery also lies along the Appalachian Trail. The walk from parking at the trailhead to the cemetery is less than ¾ mile and in the cemetery you will also see one of the largest Cucumber Magnolia trees in the state!

Andrew Johnston House in Pearisburg, VA

Lunch- Options for lunch in Pearisburg include local options Papa’s Pizzeria, Queen’s Pizza, La Barranca Mexican Grill, and Pizza Plus. Fast food options include McDonalds, Wendy’s, Hardees, Pizza Hut, and hiker favorite, Dairy Queen.

Enjoy a stroll after lunch through the streets of Pearisburg to see a series of murals painted by local artist that depict local scenes. The Pearisburg Town Park has multiple permanent sculptures for viewing along their paved park walking trail. During the warmer months (April-October) on the third Thursdays enjoy the Pearisburg Community Market with food and craft vendors and entertainment.

 

public art in Pearisburg

For more active outdoor adventure, hiking Angels Rest provides a unique perspective of the town and the New River Water Trail far below. The 1.3 mile hike is strenuous with multiple switch backs and constant grade. The two boat landings nearest to Pearisburg include the Ripplemead Boat Landing at Whitt-Rverbend Park. This park is 28 acres with a paved walking trail, campsites, and restroom facilities. The boat landing also has restroom facilities and paved boat ramp. The Bluff City Boat Landing offers a paved boat ramp, area information kiosk, restroom, and paved parking area.

 

Finish out your evening in Pearisburg with a stay at the award-winning Inn at Riverbend. Enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the New River on their vast decks. Other area lodging options can be found at gilescounty.org/lodging.

Inn at Riverbend porch

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Giles County, Virginia is located in Southwest Virginia approximately 40 minutes south of Roanoke and just west of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech. With easy access to the New River, world class dining and lodging properties, and historical attractions for the entire family, Giles offers adventure in Virginia’s Mountain Playground™. Come find your playground at our Visitors Center located at 203 N Main Street, Pearisburg, VA 24134 or find us online at gilescounty.org or by calling 540-921-2079. For interviews or onsite visits, please contact Cora Gnegy, Tourism Marketing Director. We can arrange and assist with any media needs. For more information about planning your visit to Giles County or about activities and events, please visit www.gilescounty.org or contact us at tourism@gilescounty.org.

 

 

SWVA Logo Badge Format

Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation & Friends Of Southwest Virginia Release 2017 Annual Report

Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation & Friends Of Southwest Virginia Release 2017 Annual Report

 

ABINGDON, VA – The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Friends of Southwest Virginia have released their 2017 Annual Report which outlines the regional economic impact of the tourism economy and spotlights economic, community and tourism development initiatives, regional marketing and branding and updates to Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.

 

The report shows an increase of more than 56% in tourism spending throughout Southwest Virginia since 2004.

 

Southwest Virginia includes 19 counties, four independent cities and 54 towns located on the southern and western border of Virginia. Its 8,600 square miles – more than a fifth of Virginia’s total – is located along mountain ridges and in fertile valleys with two national parks, nine state parks and over a thousand square miles of national and state forests. The region is filled with innovators, artists and musicians.

 

To capitalize on these cultural and natural assets and in response to rapidly declining employment in Southwest Virginia’s historically prominent industries of farming, mining, and manufacturing, leaders around the region began to invest in developing the creative economy in the mid-2000s.

SWVA Annual Report Cover 2017The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation was established in 2008 by the Virginia General Assembly to serve as the lead in developing a creative economy in Southwest Virginia through cultural and natural assets. Through a supporting non-profit, the Friends of Southwest Virginia, the regional team works as one organization to help localities, non-profits and entrepreneurs mobilize and succeed. Partner organizations include The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail and ‘Round the Mountain Artisan Network along with support from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The complex nature of this model of public / private partnership is reflective of the complex economic issues in Southwest Virginia that the organization tackles on a daily basis.

 

The creative economy movement is defined by innovative business development techniques finding success without reliance on the limited resources of land, labor and capital. From the arts and music of the region to the natural assets capitalized through tourism, the joint work of the Foundation and the non-profit is revolutionizing the rural economic development system of Southwest Virginia and providing thousands of new jobs through small business to the people of this region.

 

The organization reports that a study from the U.S. Travel Association and Virginia Tourism Corporation shows that tourism spending in the region has grown by $363 million from 2004 to 2016, the most recent year that statistics are available. Tourism impact throughout the region exceeded $1 billion for the first time in history; in comparison, tourism expenditures were only $648.9 million in 2004.

 

Additionally, local tax revenues have increased by 46.51% and state tax revenues by 41.06% in the same time period. The upward trend in these travel related tax revenues has an impact at the local level through increasing meals and lodging tax revenues in the region’s towns. Overall employment in SWVA has dropped by 2.3% since 2001, but employment in the leisure and hospitality industry sector has increased by 14%.

 

“The work of the Foundation and Friends is truly a collaborative of the incredible leadership of our counties, cities and towns that are innovating their business eco-system through the creative economy,” said Chris Cannon, executive director of the Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia.

 

In addition to the significant increase in overall tourism impact, the report details current developments underway to increase future economic impact.

 

“Several years ago, visionaries across the region saw the potential of creative economy development using our natural assets – our unrivaled mountains, rivers, lakes, streams and fields,” said Cannon.

 

Since 2014, the SWVA Outdoors initiative has recruited millions in grant funding to develop tourism around 8 anchor areas: Mount Rogers, Appalachian Trail, Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail, Clinch River, New River, Blue Ridge Parkway, Breaks Interstate Park and High Knob.

 

Planning and construction projects are underway throughout the region to enhance and develop key natural assets. From the future construction of a new parking lot for Devil’s Bathtub in Scott County and a River Destination Center in Giles County to master planning for the High Knob region, these projects will all improve tourism through access to regional assets while protecting and preserving their natural significance.

 

Funding partners in these 16 development projects touching all of Southwest Virginia include the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, Appalachian Regional Commission, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Virginia Tourism Corporation and several private foundations.

 

In addition to the development initiatives, the organization serves as an official Destination Marketing Organization for the region. The SWVA brand introduced in 2016 has grown and developed over the past two years through aggressive marketing initiatives.

 

“Our social media following has exploded, but look for an increased presence across all digital platforms in 2018 as we improve and expand our marketing initiatives to share Southwest Virginia with the world,“ said Jenna Wagner, Director of Marketing.

 

The organization also operates and manages Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway located just off I-81 in Abingdon. The facility opened in 2011 to showcase and retail regional art through ‘Round the Mountain, present regional music through The Crooked Road, and serve as a destination center for the entire region. The report details that visitation and the sales of regional craft has increased over 2016.

 

“Heartwood was built to be a gateway to the entire Southwest Virginia region and visitor intercept studies conducted this fall showed us that over 60% of people who walked through the doors of Heartwood were inspired to get in their car and visit another community in Southwest Virginia,” said Cannon.

 

To access the full Annual Report, visit: https://issuu.com/southwestvirginia/docs/swva_annual_report_2017_final.

 

For more information on the SWVA Cultural Heritage Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia, visit www.myswva.org.

 

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For more information, please contact Jenna Wagner with Friends of Southwest Virginia (276-492-2422).

 

About Southwest Virginia

Tucked in the mountains of Southwest Virginia is a vibrant culture of music, craft and stunning natural beauty. It’s a region of spectacular views and rich natural resources. Time spent in the region adds up to something much more than a simple getaway. A different side of Virginia. And a great place to visit for a week’s vacation – or to make a home for a lifetime. Authentic. Distinctive. Alive.

 

About the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia

The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation is the coordinating body for cultural heritage tourism and economic development efforts fostering Southwest Virginia’s creative economy. Through a supporting non-profit, the Friends of Southwest Virginia, the combined entities help localities, businesses, individuals, artists, nonprofits and entrepreneurs mobilize and succeed.

 

A multifaceted plan identifies the cultural and natural assets of the region; coordinates initiatives, organizations and venues engaged in cultural and natural heritage toward more efficient operations for all partner organizations; and develops a comprehensive strategy and capital improvements plan to maximize the impact of state investments in this significant restructuring effort.

 

Key initiatives include:

  • Branding and marketing Southwest Virginia to the world as a distinct culture and destination
  • Developing and sustaining Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway
  • Expanding outdoor recreation development initiatives and marketing throughout the region
  • Planning and implementation of downtown revitalization throughout the region to instill a high quality of life within our communities and promote them to the world for a broad spectrum of economic development opportunities

 

Follow SWVA

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Snapchat: southwestva | Website

Wind Rock Sunset June 2016 Billy Bowling

Adventure Tourism Entrepreneur Workshop Coming To The New River Valley

Adventure Tourism Entrepreneur Workshop Coming To The New River Valley

 

Giles County, VA – The Friends of Southwest Virginia, in partnership with Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Community Capital, Spearhead Trails, and Small Business Development Centers, are hosting adventure tourism workshops to highlight regional initiatives, opportunities, best practices, and expert advice for starting an adventure tourism business in Southwest Virginia.

 

 

Southwest Virginia includes 19 counties and four independent cities located near the southern and western border of Virginia. The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission, established in 2008 by the Virginia General Assembly, takes the lead in developing a creative economy in Southwest Virginia. In 2011, the Commission became the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation, a self-sustaining community development organization with support from the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Through a supporting non-profit, the Friends of Southwest Virginia, businesses and individuals help artists, crafts people, localities, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs mobilize and succeed.

 

 

With multiple outdoor adventures and opportunities throughout the New River Valley, residents and visitors alike are starting to discover the outdoor recreation assets that our region has to offer.  However, more adventure tourism businesses are needed to aid in the discovery of the “Adventurous Side of Virginia,” the tagline of the organization.

 

 

The workshops are free and open to the public. Advance registration is required with space limited to 30 attendees. The New River Valley will host a regional workshop on December 13th from 9am until noon at the 19th Hole at Castle Rock, located at 900 Castle Rock Drive, Pembroke, VA. You may also find more information and register online at the Giles County, VA Facebook Event page.

 

 

The collaboration among the aforementioned partners, as well as the localities hosting the workshops aid in the development of our communities and assist the Friends of Southwest Virginia in promoting outdoor recreation in Southwest Virginia to the world. The Friends of Southwest Virginia would like to thank the hosts for the workshops and for their partnership.

flyer details for Dec. Tourism Workship##

 

For more information, please contact Emily Mayo (276-492-2412).

 

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About Southwest Virginia

 

Tucked in the mountains of Southwest Virginia is a vibrant culture of music, craft and stunning natural beauty. It’s a region of spectacular views and rich natural resources. Time spent in the region adds up to something much more than a simple getaway. A different side of Virginia. And a great place to visit for a week’s vacation – or to make a home for a lifetime. Authentic. Distinctive. Alive.

 

 

Follow SWVA: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Snapchat: southwestva

Motorcycle Adventures in Southwest Virginia

Sturgis, South Dakota, is what pops into most people’s minds when they think of motorcycle adventures. While this rip roaring party of a motorcycle rally is perhaps the most iconic, it hardly speaks for the lot of ‘em—there are a variety of places and ways to embark on a motorcycle adventure across our grand country.

If you’re on the hunt for a spot steeped in natural beauty with options from serene rides to blood-pumping dirt road adventures, look no further than Southwest Virginia. Housing key sections of the increasingly well-known Dragon Motorcycle Series and offering some of the most customizable motorcycle touring you can get, zooming through Southwest Virginia on two wheels is a trip to remember.

Two Slices of the Dragon Motorcycle Series

A taste of what you can see along the Back of the Dragon.
A taste of what you can see along the Back of the Dragon.

Virginia State Parks

Occupying central Southwest Virginia including Smyth, Tazewell, and Wythe counties is a twisty and turny motorcycle ride that’s unlike any other. The Back of the Dragon begins in Marion and terminates in Tazewell. This middle section is part of the larger Dragon Series that includes the Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina and Tennessee, the Head of the Dragon in West Virginia, and the Claw of the Dragon also in Virginia.

The Back of the Dragon is located smack in the middle of the five loops that compose the Claw of the Dragon which means an almost unthinkable amount of ride options couched in the secluded, tree-filled scenery of Southwest Virginia. Ranging from 62 to 224 miles in length, there’s plenty to explore, but the Back of the Dragon is particularly beautiful. The route meanders along a cliff through its entirety, offering stunning and far-reaching views of the land below between eyefuls of luscious trees dotting a barely trafficked road. For the best experience, tackle it at sunrise or sunset—the area really lights up and it feels almost other-worldly.

Once you tackle this part of the Dragon, it’s going to be almost impossible to stop you from wanting to see the rest. You’ve been warned.

Custom Tours for Any Traveler

GearHead will provide visitors guided motorcycle tours of the area. Renee Sklarew
GearHead will provide visitors guided motorcycle tours of the area.
Renee Sklarew

Whether it’s the Dragon that’s got you hooked or something else, GearHead Moto Tours in Pearisburg (which spun out of motorcycle repair shop of the same name) offers all-inclusive motorcycle tours to enthusiasts of all stripes. In talking to Terry Rafferty, the owner of the whole shebang, about his business, his passion for what he does is practically palpable. He explains that when it comes to the kinds of tours people can book, “Nothing is impossible. That’s kind of the motto here. I’m here for the people, to give them the best time possible and show them Giles county. There are so many beautiful areas.”

Rafferty went on to explain that the team, which includes his other guide Derek Snider, is really energetic about what they do because it’s their passion. “I’m so fortunate to be able to do what I do every day,” he adds.

When it comes to what he does, the sky’s the limit. GearHead serves everyone from solo travelers to corporate staff members looking for a fun team building experience. While their tours work best in pods of four or so, soloists can take advantage of the events GearHead advertises on its Facebook page and snag a single spot. The best is that Rafferty totally gets solo travel, explaining that they’ll pair people in a party of one with others on a trip, but that you’ll still get your own room and bathroom accommodations to stay in. “None of that awkward dual occupancy stuff,” he notes.

GearHead can outfit you with a motorcycle as well. Renee Sklarew
GearHead can outfit you with a motorcycle as well.
Renee Sklarew

GearHead tours can be hard to define because they’re so customizable. The company recently took a couple on a romantic retreat tour, putting them up in a nice cabin and bringing in chefs to cook for them. On the other end of the spectrum, another recent tour included camping and the GearHead team cooked for the guests. On other outings, Rafferty will take guests to sample local restaurants. “What we’re trying to do is give the flavor of the place to our customers,” he says. “There’s everything from nice dining spots to mom and pop places. When people come here they’re trying to get away from having Starbucks every morning.”

The terrain you cover and how you cover it is just as much up to you as where you stay and what you eat. They’ve got dirt roads for riders looking for technical challenges, two-lane paved routes for those trying to relax a bit, and access to trails on private property to ensure that you have an experience unlike any other. The key to offering such a variety of adventures are the dual sport motorcycles they use—essentially street-legal dirt bikes that can traverse diverse terrain.

One of Rafferty’s favorite spots to take his guests is Butt Mountain Fire Tower Overlook where visitors can see three states at once. “It’s also where Dirty Dancing was filmed,” Rafferty adds as an aside.

All you need to participate is a motorcycle endorsement on your license and proof of motorcycle insurance if you plan to drive. They provide you with everything else—all the riding and safety gear you could possibly need to have a great time in Southwest Virginia.

Originally written by RootsRated for Southwest Virginia.

Featured image provided by Virginia State Parks

Castle Rock

Backyard Tourist Spotlight on Castle Rock Golf & Recreation

Backyard Tourist Spotlight on Castle Rock Golf & Recreation

Castle Rock Golf & Recreation is located at 900 Castle Rock Drive in Pembroke, Giles County, Virginia. They have been open since the mid 1960’s and serving the public ever since, and the operations are managed by Adam Harman.

Castle Rock Golf & Recreation strives to ensure your whole family can find enjoyment with their 18-hole golf course, Junior Olympic size swimming pool, club house, lighted tennis courts, outside picnic shelter, 15 picnic tables, and two charcoal grills. Memberships are available to enjoy all of these amenities and the golf course is welcoming to the public. The 19th Hole, the additional meeting space at Castle Rock, is available for renting for civic and corporate meetings, showers, parties, or workshop space. Contact the Office of Tourism & Marketing, at (540) 921-2079, for more information on renting the space.

Castle Rock Golf & Recreation overlooks the New River Water Trail and its’ namesake “Castle Rock”, in Giles County. The views from the course are of breathtaking vistas of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. In 2017, Castle Rock Golf course was recognized as the 2nd Best Golf Course in Southwest Virginia by Virginia Living Magazine.

They are open seven days a week from 8am to 7pm. They can be reached at 540-626-7276 or online or on Facebook.

Happy Business Appreciation Month and National Teacher Appreciation Month!

Link to website: http://www.castlerockgolf.club/

Link to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Castle-Rock-Golf-Club-273538837334/

Ballads - Mtn. Lake

The Crooked Road & Mountains of Music Homecoming

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mountains of Music

May 22, 2017

Contact: Jack Hinshelwood, Executive Director
The Crooked Road & Mountains of Music Homecoming
(276) 492-2402 O, (540) 239-2110 M
jhinshelwood@thecrookedroad.org

Karen Tessier
Mountains of Music Homecoming Public Relations
(828) 398-5250 O, (828) 231-6268 M
ktessier@mktconnections.com
 

Scotland’s Archie Fisher Joins Crooked Road Artists in Ballad Event at Mountain Lake Lodge for Crooked Road’s 2017 Mountains of Music Homecoming

 

Abingdon, VA: Renowned Scottish folk and ballad singer Archie Fisher will join Kay Justice, Rich Kirby and Carol Elizabeth Jones on the Gazebo Lawn at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke on Monday, June 12 at 7:00 PM.  This special concert is part of the 2017 Mountains of Music Homecoming.  In the event of rain the concert will move indoors to Mary’s Barn.

 

Archie Fisher, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, grew up in a musical family. In the 1960s and 1970s, Fisher performed regularly with his younger sister Ray on television in Scotland.  He recorded his first album in 1968, and thereafter appeared as a backing musician (on guitar) and arranger for the legenday Irish artists Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy.  In the 1970s, Fisher recorded his acclaimed albums, The Man With A Rhyme and Will Ye Gang, Love.  In 1996, Fisher’s next album, Sunsets I’ve Galloped Into, was spotlighted on National Public Radio.  Following the success of that release, Archie toured throughout North America with British guitarists John Renbourn and Bert Jansch.  Fisher has released two subsequent albums, Windward Away (2008) and A Silent Song (2015), combining performances of his own compositions with those of traditional Scottish songs.  Fisher is a consummate guitarist whose intricate playing creates the perfect backdrop for his warm, almost hypnotic baritone singing voice.

 

For several decades Scott County native Rich Kirby has been committed to uplifting old-time mountain music in multiple roles – as performer, researcher, radio host, record producer, and workshop leader.  During the 1970s, he performed with John McCutcheon and Tom Bledsoe as the trio known as Wry Straw, and he recorded three albums for the June Appal label, including an acclaimed album of coal mining songs recorded with folklorist Michael Kline.  In 1978, Kirby produced an album of his grandmother’s ballads, Been A Long Time Traveling, and in 2015 he produced the compilation album, The Very Day I’m Gone: The Songs of Addie Graham, featuring performances of his grandmother’s repertoire by a range of talented roots musicians, including Kirby himself.   Kirby carries on the ballad tradition with many of his grandmother’s songs as well as being an accomplished performer on banjo, guitar, and fiddle.

 

Kay Justice, a respected folk and old-time singer, lives in Wytheville, Virginia.  She has a rich repertoire of traditional songs and ballads. She has recorded three critically acclaimed albums as a duo with Ginny Hawker – Signs & Wonders, Come All You Tenderhearted, and Bristol: A Tribute to the Music of the Original Carter Family.  Justice has been a master artist with the Apprenticeship Program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

 

The evening will be rounded out with Carol Elizabeth Jones, a songwriter and acclaimed traditional singer with many albums to her credit.  These include two as part of the folk duo Jones and Leva, two of country and bluegrass duets with Laurel Bliss, an album with Hazel Dickens and Ginny Hawker, and a solo album entitled Cataloochee.  A regular on Garrison Keillor’s, A Prairie Home Companion, she has performed with several groups and toured Africa and Southeast Asia as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Information Agency.  Her ballad singing will be showcased on a compilation of Appalachian balladry to be released by the Great Smoky Mountains Association in 2017.

 

Tickets to this very special concert event are available online at www.mtnsofmusic.com and at the Giles County Visitors Center (540) 921-2079. You can also call the Chamber of Commerce at (540) 921-5000.

 

Attendees to this concert can also visit “From These Woods,” an exhibit of works by highly skilled Appalachian artisans at the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, one of over 130 cultural events that are part of the Homecoming.

 

The Mountains of Music Homecoming is an extraordinary nine-day music and cultural showcase event that stretches across the 330 miles of The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. With 25 featured concerts and 130 cultural events, the Mountains of Music Homecoming invites travelers to follow the music through the heart of the scenic, culturally rich Crooked Road region. The theme for the 2017 Mountains of Music Homecoming is The Year We Sang.

 

The Crooked Road’s 76-page Official Guide to the 2017 Mountains of Music Homecoming is free and available at all Virginia Welcome Centers, at Southwest Virginia public library branches, and at Southwest Virginia branches of New Peoples Bank, the Bank of Marion, and Union Bank & Trust. In Giles County, guide books are available at the Visitors Center.

 

The Crooked Road is grateful for the generous support of the Virginia Department of Housing and Economic Development, David and Judie Reemsnyder, Blue Ridge Beverage, Mountain Lake Lodge, Union Bank & Trust, WDBJ-7, and Chantilly Farm for helping to make the 2017 Homecoming possible.  For tickets, schedules and more information about all Mountains of Music Homecoming concerts and cultural events, visit www.mtnsofmusic.com.

 

For hi-res images and more info, click here.

Rally Southwest Virginia Arrives in Narrows

Rally Southwest Virginia Arrives in Narrows

 

Giles County, VA- Rally Southwest Virginia is building community leadership capacity and reinforcing collaborative communities across the region of Southwest Virginia. The region consisting of 19 counties from Giles to the far southwest counties in Virginia, has embraced this program and others to find creative outlets for suppressed economies and the revitalization for downtown areas.

 

The Town of Narrows is the first community in the New River Valley to participate in this new min-grant program, facilitated by Opportunity SWVA. The mini-grant program provides a $3,000 award to communities to implement a community development project through a team structure. The team in Narrows is comprised of citizens, small business owners, town staff, and county representatives. The group gathered for the initial meeting to discuss the potential of the Rally program and begin brainstorming how this mini-grant could be utilized to support ongoing development efforts in Narrows.

 

At the initial meeting, participants heard from Robyn Lee, Entrepreneurship Coordinator for Opportunity SWVA. Through partnerships with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) this program has already seen success in other communities in the region. Chilhowie, Cleveland, Coeburn, Damascus, Dungannon, Haysi, Pocahontas, and Tazewell have utilized the award monies to build and install kiosks, develop wayfinding signage for their downtown, create art in public places, and more.

 

A goal of the project, aside from a short-term completed project, is to build a cohesive and engaged group at the local level to help facilitate future development in the community. This small group locally, will then serve as energetic leaders to support other community and small business efforts. The goal of attracting and supporting entrepreneurs and their ventures to Narrows  has been the topic of conversation as the community has participated in master planning sessions for over a year.

 

All five towns in Giles County, Pembroke, Pearisburg, Narrows, Rich Creek, and Glen Lyn are all actively engaged in revitalization planning under the guidance of the New River Valley Regional Commission with funds from DHCD in the form of their Community Development Block Grants. Pembroke and Narrows are nearing the time to submit for implementation funds from their master planning process, while the other communities are beginning their visioning and coordination phase of the process.

 

For the next six months Narrows will be considering, designing, and implementing a project to support the town as a place for business as it relates to the master plan that focuses on outdoor recreation as a driver for economic development. The group that recently met, while no final decisions were made, enjoyed the ideas revolving around signage, façade improvements, or a beatification project to welcome residents and visitors to this wonderfully natural, mountain town in Southwest Virginia.

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For additional information on RALLY Southwest Virginia please feel free to contact Robyn Lee at 276-376-3453 or rlee@uvawise.edu.

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For more information about planning your visit to Giles County or about activities and events, please visit www.gilescounty.org or contact us at tourism@gilescounty.org.