CLINTWOOD, VA – July 11, 2022 – Three grants totaling $300,000 were recently closed by the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) paving the way for the development of a splash pad recreational area in Clintwood, Va.

In separate actions over the past several months, the VCEDA board approved $50,000 for the project requested by the Dickenson County IDA from the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund; $50,000 for the project requested by the Town of Clintwood from the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund; and most recently gave its approval to a second request from the IDA to transfer up to $200,000 from the VCEDA Dickenson County Account to the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund and to approve an up to a $200,000 grant from the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund to the IDA.

“The final action to approve the $200,000 in funding followed amendments agreed to by the VCEDA board to amend the authority’s project policies to allow the transfer of VCEDA county account funds to the tourism account within certain limits,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “Prior to that action, VCEDA did not have a formal mechanism in place to allow for tourism dollars to be expended directly from VCEDA county accounts. The change to the project policies made that action possible by allowing the county IDAs to choose to request some of their VCEDA county account funds for tourism-related projects. VCEDA is pleased to have been able to facilitate the request for funding and to assist the Dickenson County IDA and the Town of Clintwood in this project they identified as one to improve recreational and tourism opportunities in the town and county for their citizens and tourists alike.”

The funds will be used to finance site development, paving, splash pad construction, building construction, the purchase of equipment, other improvements and costs associated with the project to be located in Clintwood.

“I am very appreciative for all the funding that is helping this Splashpad come to life,” said Dickenson County Board of Supervisors Chair Woman Peggy Kiser. “This project got on the radar by Josh Evans, Willis District Supervisor who is currently the vice chair of our board of supervisors. Our county hasn’t had anything like this in the past. The children from our county have traveled to other towns to benefit from the enjoyment of their splash pads.  Thanks and gratitude goes to Rita Surratt, tourism director; Paul Buchanan, Columbus Phipps Foundation director; Larry Barton, county administrator; Danny Lambert, Town of Clintwood mayor; and the Town Council, Dickenson County IDA and VCEDA for the funds to see this happen.  Not only one person can sometimes move a project, but it takes a team and a village working together and supporting each other to make things happen.  We are just looking forward to the day they break ground and then the opening day of the Splash Pad for the citizens of Dickenson County.”  

“I am so thrilled and thankful for VCEDA’s support of this project,” said Dickenson County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Josh Evans. “I also must specifically thank the Columbus Phipps Foundation, Director Paul Buchanan, Tourism Director Rita Surratt and County Administrator Larry Barton. This is truly a collaborative project. Additionally, I am appreciative of my fellow board members as well as the Clintwood Town Council and Mayor Lambert for sharing a unified vision to expand recreational opportunities for our families. These types of venues are exactly what companies, employers and employees look for when considering relocating their families. I can’t thank the VCEDA board and Mr. Belcher enough for backing this project for Dickenson County.”

After the initial $50,000 grant was approved to the IDA for the project, the IDA obtained layout proposals from an engineering firm which revealed the cost of the project would be significantly more than anticipated, necessitating the requests for the additional $250,000 for the project.  The $50,000 portion approved for the Town of Clintwood originally was approved for a campground project, however the town later requested the cancellation of that grant and reapplied for the $50,000 for the splash pad project.

“With the onset of COVID, Dickenson County has been charged with developing and enhancing outdoor recreation areas for its citizens,” the IDA’s application for funding noted. “The splash pad will attract children from toddlers to young teens.  With the water feature, picnic area and restroom facility, we anticipate having something that all ages can enjoy, including adults.  Currently Dickenson County doesn’t have any similar areas for the children to enjoy.”

The grant application continued, “This area will provide exercise and encourage socializing with friends and neighbors. We even anticipate use from our neighbors in Pound and other surrounding areas.  We hope to be able to expand the aquatic facility in the near future as funds become available.”

It was further noted in the application, the IDA has discussed the project with Town of Clintwood Council members, confirming the need for the project. 

“In researching and planning for this project, we have found that many towns in our region have similar facilities and all agree they attract a high volume of visitors each season,” the application noted. “We also predict this project to have a positive impact on the economy.”

Specifically, the application pointed to the support local businesses would experience through the purchase “of food and drinks, gas for motor vehicles and supplies to spend the day enjoying the outdoors.”

“Splash pads have become popular as the new public pool,” said Dickenson County IDA Chairman Larry Yates. “Locals and visitors alike can enjoy this new addition to Dickenson County while it brings another source of revenue into and for our county and community. This new Splash pad will encourage all ages, but especially children to enjoy the outdoors. It also adds opportunity for community socializing. The Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority was pleased that the VCEDA Board of Directors was able to amend their policies to allow the transfer of county VCEDA funds to the VCEDA Tourism Capital Improvement Matching Fund that then allowed a total of $250,000 in funds from the IDA to go along with another $50,000 that was requested by the Town of Clintwood from VCEDA to go toward the project.”

“The Town of Clintwood was happy to work with VCEDA on this project,” said Clintwood Mayor Danny Lambert. “We are in the process now of removing bleachers on the site later this month and that will turn us loose to begin the progress on the overall project.”

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