LEBANON, Va. – September 25, 2018 — A grant for up to $92,000 from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) to the Breaks Interstate Park was closed earlier this week.
The funds come from the VCEDA Civil Penalties Fund and will be used to finance improvements at the park, including the replacement of roofs, renovation of the park’s adventure outpost building, construction of a climbing wall and the purchase of equipment including new paddle boats, fishing kayaks and paddle boards which will be offered for rent at the park’s Laurel Lake.
By Virginia statute, 50 percent of the civil penalties collected by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy are transferred quarterly to VCEDA “… for the purposes of developing infrastructure and improvements at Breaks Interstate Park.”
“We are pleased to continue to assist the Breaks Interstate Park in further expanding its offerings here in Southwest Virginia,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The Breaks Interstate Park is a key component to outdoor tourism here and VCEDA is pleased to see the park continue to look for new ways to improve its facilities and to add to its recreational opportunities.”
Belcher noted that VCEDA and VCEDA-member counties identified tourism as an economic development opportunity they wanted to pursue years ago.
Breaks Park Superintendent Austin Bradley expressed his appreciation for the VCEDA funding.
“We are excited to be able to offer these new recreation experiences to our visitors and to have the funds to do the upgrades to our facilities which will improve visitor experience,” Bradley said. “The park commission appreciates the Virginia legislature and VCEDA for our access to the civil penalties funds which have allowed the park to do many improvements through the years which we typically would have not been able to fund through our traditional revenue streams. The new funding allows us to continue to add to and improve our offerings here at the park.”
The park currently has nine full-time and 102 part-time employees and projects the addition of another two full-time and eight part-time jobs within two years.
About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and 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 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.
PHOTO CAPTION: VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, right, presents a ceremonial check to Breaks Interstate Park Superintendent Austin Bradley representing funds recently approved by VCEDA for the park.