RED ONION, VA – JUNE 12, 2023 An up to a $217,000 grant to be used to assist the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority in its Chip Mill Site Redevelopment Project in the Red Onion area of Dickenson County was recently closed by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

The funds will be used to repurpose the abandoned chip mill site and to provide a build ready pad of approximately 23.5 acres.

“The IDA’s goal is to prospect and market the redeveloped site to potential developers for future job creation and economic growth,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The VCEDA funds, which will used to repurpose the site, will improve the property and complement other development in the Red Onion Industrial Park currently underway, increasing the overall marketability of the site for attracting business.”

VCEDA funds will be used to assist the Dickenson County IDA in its Chip Mill Site Redevelopment project at Red Onion. The former Chip Mill site (background), scale house and rail (foreground) are pictured. The area in the vicinity of the chip mill building is what will be developed into a build ready pad.

In 2021, VCEDA approved an up to $1.175 million loan to the IDA to be used to finance the purchase of the former Mountain Forest Products chip mill site containing 433.17 acres of real estate more or less in Dickenson and Wise counties in Virginia for economic development purposes.  Using this loan, the IDA acquired the property, which is adjacent to the IDA’s Red Onion Industrial Park, located between the towns of Pound and Clintwood.

A new substance abuse rehabilitation facility, previously announced, will be the first occupant of a portion of the chip mill property. VCEDA is providing up to a $4 million loan to the IDA for that project which is projected to create 52 jobs.

According to the IDA’s application, the current project to develop the build ready pad is divided into two phases. Phase one items include general site construction, storm drainage improvements, on-site access road improvements and the engineering, permitting, fees and legal services associated with those items. The funds requested from VCEDA will be used for a portion of engineering fees associated with the project, as well as other site development, according to the application.

“VCEDA’s support in the purchase and site development of the former chip mill site will allow for the IDA and county to add another prime site to their inventory for developers and businesses looking to locate in Southwest Virginia,” said Dana Cronkhite, Dickenson County IDA executive director. “We believe this site has significant potential to attract the right type of business needed to continue to provide new options for continued economic growth and diversification.”

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. or