LEBANON, VA – NOVEMBER 18, 2022 – Twenty-six new projects and expansion/retention projects projected to create 621 full-time and 104 part-time jobs and more than $218 million in private investment have been announced in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region so far this calendar year, Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher told members of the VCEDA board, Thursday.

He noted project activity continues to be high, with 53 active projects currently being pursued. VCEDA has also completed 24 outreach marketing events across the United States in the current year.

Year to date, Belcher noted, 28 loans and grants for $8,653,404 in new funding, projected to help create 203 full-time and 94 part-time jobs and $4,230,663 in private investment have been approved.

“This does not include 26 loan and grant applications on today’s agenda, involving a potential $871,200 in new funding, 88 full-time and 87 part-time jobs and more than $1.77 million in private investment,” Belcher said.

Among the items approved during Thursday’s meeting also included the creation of a new jobs investment program, the Coalfield Jobs Investment Project (CJIP) which will provide a grant to eligible for-profit businesses located or locating in the VCEDA region which create at least one new full-time job in the region within VCEDA’s targeted industry sectors of information technology, manufacturing, energy or creative tourism.   

In other business, the VCEDA board:

  • approved up to a $447,200 loan for a project in Tazewell County that will create new jobs and which is pending announcement;
  • approved up to a $144,000 grant from the VCEDA Education and Telehealth Access Fund to be used to finance the provision of low earth orbit Starlink satellite Internet service to unserved and/or underserved children in Dickenson County; and
  • approved up to a $50,000 grant from the VCEDA Dickenson County Account to be used to finance a feasibility study related to the IDA’s “Green Lot” located in Clintwood and the “Haysi High School Lot” located in Haysi, to assist in the marketing and economic development of those properties.

The board also approved a one-year subscription to Gazelle.ai, a business database designed specifically for economic developers to be used as a lead generation tool to make contacts with companies and to learn about new projects. The global database incorporates information on companies, including contact information, recent events and new projects and expansions as Gazelle’s research analysts learn of and make it available on the database with ratings scores. VCEDA will offer access to this database to the industrial and economic development authority staff in all seven counties and the City of Norton served by VCEDA, in order to provide these localities with additional marketing tools to help recruit jobs and businesses to the region.

In other business, the board approved seed capital matching grants for the fall round for 23 new businesses projecting the creation of 68 full-time jobs and 87 part-time jobs and private investment of $1,199,038. Sixteen of the grants approved were from carry-over applications from the Spring 2022 seed capital round who were allowed to request reconsideration because of the lack of seed capital funds in the spring. The remaining seven fall under new criteria approved for the fall round and going forward which require those applications to be for new businesses within VCEDA’s targeted industry sectors of information technology, manufacturing, energy or creative tourism.  

Grants approved Thursday were for $10,000 each and included those for Hurley Remodeling & Custom Designs LLC; Mountain View Marina & Campground, LLC; Hammilltime Construction, LLC; Delightfully Designed, LLC; Rock Bottom Horse Camp, LLC; B’s Wigs, Extensions and Beauty Supply L.L.C.; Double Dreaming, LLC d/b/a Retail Junkies; Devils Fork Campground LLC; Boutique 276 LLC; Tazewell Test Center, LLC; Micah McDermott LLC d/b/a Just Melt It; The Charc Board LLC; Universal Fitness LLC d/b/a Absolute Fitness; Fourth Street Sweets, LLC; The Shack at Lonesome Pine, LLC; Cluck Truck, LLC; Sykes Seamless Gutter LLC; RTW Music LLC d/b/a The Music School and Shop; Air Fiber Communications, Inc.; Kane St. Smokehouse LLC; Hall Logging, LLC; Bee Noodled, LLC; and Sugar Plum Tavern and Eatery LLC.

The board also approved a request made by Paul’s Fan Company to allow it to lease with an option to purchase property it acquired in 2019 in the Constitutional Oaks Industrial Park in Lee County to an as yet unannounced prospect.

Several unrelated grant and loan disbursement deadlines extensions were also approved by the VCEDA board and included those for Paul’s Fan Company; Southern Gap Infrastructure and Development; Haysi Trails Center; and the Breaks Interstate Park. A partial lien release was agreed to for Russell Place, to release a small portion conveyed by the Russell County IDA to the Town of Lebanon for recreational use. A partial lien release was also approved at the request of the Scott County Economic Development Authority on the lower portion of the former TTEC parking lot as was a consent to change use for the property.  This was done to assist the Scott County EDA with the location of a mixed-use development to the Riverside property which was previously announced earlier this month.

Lastly, the board elected officers for 2023, naming  Larry Mosley, chairman; J.P. Richardson, vice chairman; Esther Bolling, treasurer; and Josh Ball, secretary. The board also welcomed Tim Stuller, vice president of regional talent solutions and business outreach at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, as the new representative of VEDP on the board. Stuller is a member of VEDP’s executive leadership team.

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.