HONAKER, VA – JULY 31, 2023 – A $50,000 grant to be used to install a new e-bike charging station and the construction of an amphitheater in the Town of Honaker Community Park and Recreation area was closed recently between the town and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).
The grant, from the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund, will help to fund the projects which are located in the park situated along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail in the Town of Honaker.
“The Town of Honaker, with assistance from the 501c3 non-profit group Friends of Honaker, Inc., is in the process of developing the Honaker Community Park and Recreation Area which according to the application will provide Honaker with its first community park or recreation area,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “With this project, the town sees an opportunity to offer outdoor recreation to the community and surrounding communities, as well as promote the town and area to tourists.”
The property, located on Commerce Drive, is leased by the town under a 99-year lease from New Peoples Bank.
Honaker refers to itself as the ‘Redbud Capital of the United States’ and has an annual Redbud Festival which is now in its 40th year, making it the longest running community festival in Southwest Virginia according to the Virginia tourism website.
The town is also located along the national TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, founded in 1973, which runs from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. Honaker is also a gateway community to the Breaks Interstate Park, with many tourists and cyclists accessing the Breaks via Route 80 which passes through Honaker.
The construction of an e-bike charging station will offer cyclists a place to charge their bikes while visiting the town and enjoying its other amenities. A stream flowing through the property is another attraction the town plans to promote. The stream already attracts people from surrounding areas and is the location of the town’s annual Kids Fishing Day.
“I would like to thank VCEDA for the funding of our e-bike charging station and amphitheater project,” said Honaker Mayor Jodi Eaton. “This will be a great opportunity for the Town of Honaker and the surrounding area.”
Future plans for the property include the construction of playground and park equipment, construction of an outdoor classroom, free WiFi, picnic shelters, a walking trail and splash pad, as funding becomes available. The town has indicated it plans to work with the Russell County Chamber of Commerce to promote events at the park.
The Honaker project received a letter of support from the Russell County Industrial Development Authority.
“We are excited for this opportunity to support the Town of Honaker in their efforts to provide tourism opportunities for not only their town, but for the county,” said Russell County IDA Executive Director Ernie McFaddin. “The Town of Honaker is thinking outside the box to provide new and innovative ways to support their community and utilize their natural resources. The IDA is excited to see this project grow and develop.”
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.