LEBANON, VA – AUGUST 18, 2023 – An up to $300,000 loan to the Wise County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) to finance site development and a resolution recognizing Jay Rife, of Buchanan County, upon the occasion of his upcoming retirement, were among the items approved Thursday during a meeting of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) in Lebanon, Va.

The loan to the Wise County IDA will be used to assist with the Phase 2 development of the IDA’s Elam Farm property which is adjacent to the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park.  In 2013, VCEDA previously assisted with an up to $834,250 loan to the IDA to help acquire the Elam property for future economic development. The VCEDA board’s action on Thursday also saw the maturity date on the up to $834,250 loan extended for10 years to July 23, 2033.

The resolution adopted by the board honoring Jay Rife recognized his dedication to economic development in Buchanan County and the coalfield region; his service as a member and past chairman of the VCEDA Board; and his current service as the first and only chairman to date of the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority board.

In addition to his service to VCEDA, Rife, a U.S. Army veteran and Buchanan County businessman for many years, has devoted his life to public service in Buchanan County, including as chairman of the Buchanan County IDA for decades.

He has also served in many other civic positions including as Buchanan County Commissioner of Revenue, Buchanan County Circuit Court Clerk, Breaks Regional Airport Authority board member and Buchanan County Chamber of Commerce board member and past president. He was inducted into the Buchanan County Hall of Fame in 2022.

In other business, members of the VCEDA board learned much of the activity since the board’s last meeting has focused on marketing outreach events, closing of loans and grants approved at the June meeting, follow-up on some larger pending projects and assisting the Virginia Coalfields Expressway Authority.

“Staff are currently working around 27 active projects, with the highest levels currently in the manufacturing sector,” VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher told board members.

Highlights since the June board meeting have included the closing of several grants in Dickenson County, the Semicon West conference, the AnswerNet jobs announcement, the Heart Stone Lodge announcement, and a tour of each county underway by VCEDA’s marketing ambassadors to better familiarize them with the assets available to be marketed in each of the VCEDA counties.

Additional actions taken Thursday, saw the board:

  • approve to continue with the same industry criteria for the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund as in FY23 (information technology, manufacturing, energy and creative tourism), with the intent being for the VCEDA Board to look at any revisions to the program later this year which would be applied to the Spring 2024 round of applicants;
  • approve a request from the Scott County Economic Development Authority (EDA) to extend the grant disbursement deadline by and between VCEDA and the EDA, concerning the Tempur Sealy expansion, to a new grant disbursement deadline of June 17, 2024; and
  • approve a request from the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority to extend the grant disbursement deadline on an up to $1.2 million grant from VCEDA concerning Red Onion site development and infrastructure to a new grant disbursement deadline of September 23, 2025.

The VCEDA Board will meet again later this fall at a date yet to be determined.

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.