VCEDA Board Approves Loans, Grants;

Adopts Resolution Honoring Donald Baker

LEBANON, VA – SEPTEMBER 17, 2021 – Several loans and grants were approved during a meeting of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) board Thursday in Lebanon.

Board members welcomed their newest member, Kathy Still, of Norton, who was recently appointed by the governor to fill a vacant seat on the VCEDA board.

VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher gave the executive director’s report, updating board members on recent activity, noting staff is currently working on 53 active projects. Since the board’s last meeting in June, Belcher noted there had been two new industry announcements, several seed capital announcements and several other loan and grant-related announcements.

On the marketing front, Belcher noted in-person outreach activities have resumed as various conferences, trade shows and meetings are now being held again. Additionally, he said, a new “how to apply” seed capital video has been created to assist potential applicants to that program with understanding how the program works. Belcher also showed the board a new VCEDA ad promoting the region in Virginia Business magazine.

Belcher said staff has also been spending time on the Reenergize SWVA process being coordinated by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. VCEDA was identified in legislation creating the review process as a stakeholder in it.

VCEDA has also continued its involvement in the Energy Storage and Electrification Jobs Manufacturing Project. VCEDA is part of the collaborative GO Virginia funding initiative to help existing companies expand and to recruit new industries in the fields of energy storage and electrification manufacturing.

In other business, the VCEDA board approved funding for two yet to be announced industrial projects which will create a number of new manufacturing jobs in the region. Further information on these will be released as those projects are announced.

The board also approved an up to $150,000 grant to the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority (SRRA) to be used to finance site development, building(s) construction and building(s) improvements, road, trail, picnic area and parking area improvements to assist with the continued development of the SRRA Sportsman’s Complex in Dickenson County.

In other business, a resolution honoring the service of former VCEDA chairman and long-time board member Donald Baker was adopted by the board.

Baker remains as the only individual to have ever been appointed to the VCEDA board by four different Virginia governors. The resolution commends Baker for his many years of service to the Town of Clintwood, Dickenson County and the entire region.

The VCEDA board also approved a number of tourism-related requests for funding from the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund, including the following:

An up to $50,000 grant for the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority for the development of the proposed Three Rivers Destination – Discovery Center was approved.
An up to $50,000 grant was approved for the Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park in Tazewell County for site development, building(s) construction, expansion and rehabilitation to assist with the expansion and further development of the farm and transportation exhibit building.
An up to $50,000 grant was approved for the Theatre Guild of Buchanan County for building renovations and improvements, the purchase of furniture, fixtures and equipment, stage construction and other improvements to assist with the development of the Theatre Guild of Buchanan County community theater project at the former Coca-Cola bottling facility at Vansant.
An up to $50,000 grant was approved for the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority to finance building renovations and improvements, the purchase of equipment and other improvements to assist with the development of the Spearhead Trails Adventure Recreation Center at Coeburn.
An up to $50,000 grant was approved for the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority to assist with the development of a splash pad recreational area at Clintwood.
An up to $50,000 grant for the Town of Clintwood was approved to be used to finance site development, the installation of utilities, access road construction, paving, camp site construction and other improvements to develop a new RV campground.

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.

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