VCEDA closed on a $60,000 grant to the Historic Crab Orchard Museum May 31. On hand for the ceremonial check presentation were, from left, (front) Ashley Fisher, of Fisher & Company; Charlotte Whitted, museum director; Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel; Mary Lawson, museum board of directors; and (back) Mike Hymes, Tazewell County Board of Supervisors and museum board member; Russ Hatfield, vice chairman of the museum board; Bob Buchanan, chairman of the museum board; and Bonnie White, secretary of the museum board.

Tazewell, VA (June 5, 2018) – An up to $60,000 grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) to assist the Historic Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park in Tazewell County was closed Thursday May 31 at the museum.

The grant, approved at a recent meeting of the VCEDA board, comes from the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund and will be used toward building construction, expansion and rehabilitation; the purchase of furniture, fixtures and equipment; as well as other improvements and costs associated with the project including architectural, engineering, delivery and installation expenses.Additional matching funds for the project have been allocated by Tazewell County and the Tobacco Commission.

“VCEDA is pleased to be able to assist the Historic Crab Orchard Museum in its identified renovation and expansion plans,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The museum, which has been a part of Southwest Virginia since 1978, is now in its 40th year and remains a valuable tourism asset in the region, making it a prime candidate for the Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund as it looks ahead to its future.”

Charlotte Whitted, executive director of the museum agreed.

“This is an investment in the future of tourism for the museum,” she said.

Visitor count has grown in the past four years from 17,000 to 25,000 and she noted as the number of people visiting the museum has grown, so has the need to upgrade it

.“We are excited that VCEDA has put their faith in us,” she said.

Tazewell County Board of Supervisor and Historic Crab Orchard Museum board member Mike Hymes pointed to what had made the funding possible.

“This is just another demonstration of how severance taxes are helping the area,” Hymes said.

The Historic Cab Orchard Museum is a regional Appalachian history museum that serves as a cultural heritage tourist attraction and a center for special events, exhibits and educational programs. The museum has a 23-acre campus located along U.S. 19/460 in Tazewell County. On the north side of this campus is the 1907 Pisgah Store, which VCEDA provided funds for several years ago to help renovate. The Pisgah Store is leased to Fisher & Company, which has successfully operated it as a restaurant for approximately four years. Some of the grant funding just allocated will be used to make an addition to the building as well as other improvements and repairs to it. Fisher & Company will contribute half of that cost.

Additionally, the VCEDA funds just awarded will be used to assist with repairs to damage to the museum center facility on the south side of US 19/460, when pipes froze and burst, flooding certain areas of the building this past January. Although insurance is covering part of the repair cost, the museum plans to utilize part of the VCEDA funding for repairs and to add some furniture, fixtures and equipment type items such as a large wall map, a new brochure rack, and display fixtures.
“Since the flood last January, we have been struggling to get everything back in order,” said Bob Buchanan, chairman of the Historic Crab Orchard Museum board of directors. “VCEDA’s involvement has allowed us to come back even stronger.”

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 and emerging technologies. 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