On hand for the Russell Theater VCEDA grant closing and ceremonial check presentation, from left, were Mark Mitchell, Lebanon Town Manager; Tony Dodi, Lebanon mayor; Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel; Scott Gilmer, Lebanon Town Council; and Shane Farmer, Cumberland Plateau Planning District.

LEBANON, VA – DECEMBER 4, 2019 — A $150,000 grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) to the Town of Lebanon to be used to finance the renovation and rehabilitation of the historic Russell Theater in downtown Lebanon was closed last week.

The funds are from the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund and may also be used in part for architectural and engineering expenses associated with the renovation.

“Assisting the growth and creation of jobs through matching funding for capital improvements at strategic tourism venues is one facet of VCEDA’s overall investment program,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “The town’s plans for the building will serve to preserve an historic aspect of Lebanon’s past, while also renovating it to better accommodate the needs of the future.”

“On behalf of myself and the town council, we want to thank VCEDA for awarding this grant to renovate and restore the historic Russell Theater in our downtown,” said Lebanon Mayor Tony Dodi. “This grant, in conjunction with other grants we have received, will allow us to move forward in restoring and reopening a venue for local talent, movies, meetings and other activities for our citizens and visitors, as well as, employing individuals to operate it. This project is an integral part of our downtown revitalization.”

The renovation of the old Russell Theater is part of the town of Lebanon’s downtown Main Street revitalization efforts. The old 3,232 square-foot theater is located at 29 West Main Street in Lebanon, near the Russell County Courthouse. The town has plans to renovate the building into a multi-use facility which could become a hub for a variety of events.

The town recently acquired the property and plans a three-phase renovation project. Phase I will include the exterior rehabilitation/renovation. Phase II will consist of interior rehabilitation/renovation; and Phase III involves fixtures and equipment, including theater seating and projection and sound equipment. The town committed funding toward the project and is also seeking funding from a variety of other sources.

The application projects two full-time and three part-time jobs will be created within two years.

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.