VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, right, presents a ceremonial check to Wise County IDA Executive Director Brian Falin, left, representing funding totaling $1 million, which includes a $300,000 loan and a $700,000 grant to the Wise County Industrial Development Authority to be used for site development of the Elam Farm property in Wise County. The funds will be used to develop phases one and two of the property.

Loan, Grant Funds Approved for Wise County ‘Elam Farm’ Site Development

Loan and grant funding to the Wise County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) totaling $1 million will assist with site development of the Wise County IDA’s Elam Farm property.

The VCEDA board has approved up to a $700,000 grant and a $300,000 loan to assist with the Phase One and Two development plans for the property which is comprised of some 203 acres adjacent to the Lonesome Pine Regional Business and Technology Park in Wise County.

Read more about the Elam Farm project.

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2023 Annual Report Highlights Projects, Expansions Projected to Create 424 Jobs

Fifteen new projects and two expansions resulting in a projected 424 jobs and more than $25 million in planned private investment were announced in the region during 2023, according to details highlighted in the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) 2023 Annual Report filed March 1, 2024 with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and the Virginia General Assembly.

Combined, the projects are projected to create 373 full-time and 51 part-time jobs.

A copy of the full annual report may be found at…/VCEDA-Annual-Report-2023….

Read more about the VCEDA 2024 Annual Report.

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VCEDA Takes Part In Cell Tower Project Groundbreaking

VCEDA was pleased to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Virginia Coalfield Coalition cell tower project on the Rt. 460 corridor. The project, which VCEDA is helping to fund, will see the construction of six cell towers along the corridor. Funding for the project also came from an AMLER grant, as well as from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Thompson Charitable Foundation. CNX Resources provided parcels of land rent-free for the construction location of three of the towers.

Read more about the cell tower project.

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Roger Rife, right, who rejoined the VCEDA board in March as the new member representing Buchanan County, chats with VCEDA Funds Administrator Jean Jordan, left and VCEDA Board Member Tim Stuller, center.



Loans, Grant Approved by Board

Two loans and one grant with the potential to create 107 full-time jobs, in addition to 40 construction-related jobs, were approved for projects in Buchanan, Russell and Wise counties during a meeting of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) board in Lebanon, Va., Thursday, March 21, 2024.

The loans included those for development of an office building in Buchanan County;  and to assist with the location of a company to existing space in Russell County. The grant is for a workforce development and training program in Wise County.

At the March meeting, Roger Rife was welcomed as a returning VCEDA board member, representing Buchanan County, replacing Carroll Branham who did not seek re-election.

Read more about the VCEDA meeting.

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Ninth District Congressman Morgan Griffith, right, makes a point during a VCEDA local economic developers meeting as Virginia Del. Israel O’Quinn, left, listens.

Griffith Attends Meeting Of Local Economic Developers

Ninth District Congressman Morgan Griffith was a special guest March 26, 2024 at the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) quarterly local economic developers meeting.

The meeting was held at the Southern Gap Transportation and Logistics Center, Grundy.

Also in attendance in addition to the local developers and VCEDA staff were Virginia Delegate Israel O’Quinn and his legislative aide Thatcher Stanley; Josh Hess, legislative aide to Griffith; and Shane Clem, Sen. Mark Warner’s legislative aide.

Local economic developers from VCEDA’s seven-county, one-city region presented updates on the ongoing economic development projects in their localities and heard updates from VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher.  Jessi Fritz, with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, also gave updates; and Randy Rose provided an introduction on his new role as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Community & Economic Development at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

Read more about Congressman Griffith’s visit.

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VCEDA Takes Part in International Battery Seminar & Exhibit

VCEDA Marketing Ambassadors Charlotte Mullins and Diane Thomas recently returned from the 2024 International Battery Seminar & Exhibit in Orlando, FL. Founded in 1983, the International Battery Seminar & Exhibit has established itself as the premier event showcasing the state of the art of worldwide energy storage technology developments for consumer, automotive, military, grid and industrial applications. While there, Mullins and Thomas visited with various companies to talk about VCEDA’s e-Region and the benefits of locating in, or expanding to, Southwest Virginia. 

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Breaks Interstate Park Receives $300,000 for Waterpark Expansion

Interstate Park will have a new attraction for visitors making their way to the Grand Canyon of the South, a new swimming pool. The Breaks Interstate Park Commission received $300,000 from the Virginia Department of Energy’s (Virginia Energy) Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grant to help cover the costs of this new addition. AMLER is a federally funded program and is administered by Virginia Energy.

Adding the pool to the existing waterpark is expected to increase visitors. Breaks Interstate Park already has over 12,000 people visit the waterpark each season. It will also increase revenue by nearly $100,000 annually and create five to seven new seasonal jobs. VCEDA has also approved up to $1.9 million in funding for the project.

Read more about the Breaks Park AMLER grant.

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Virginia Community College System Chancellor Visits SGTLC

VCEDA was pleased to attend a meeting and tour of the Southern Gap Transportation and Logistics Center in March hosted for Virginia Community College System Chancellor Dr. David Dore’. While in the region, Dore’ had an opportunity to meet with a variety of industry and government officials at the SGTLC including those from health care, natural resources, utility and academia to discuss the workforce training development needs of Southwest Virginia and how the community college system could further support the region’s economic development. The visit was coordinated by Southwest Virginia Community College and included stops at a number of locations throughout Southwest Virginia.  

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Gov. Glenn Youngkin, left, is pictured with VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher during the governor’s visit to the region in March.

Governor Youngkin Visits SWVA Region

VCEDA was pleased to take part in the various activities scheduled in the region March 20 as Gov. Glenn Youngkin visited Southwest Virginia. The day started in Wise at an economic development roundtable at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, followed by visits to Project Intersection and EarthLink in Norton. VCEDA also accompanied the governor on a visit to Consolidated Steel in Cedar Bluff and attended a listening session at Southwest Virginia Community College. The day ended in Abingdon at another listening session at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center. While in the region, the governor also attended a law enforcement breakfast in Norton and visited the veterinary school in Lee County. We appreciate the governor and his staff for taking the time to visit in the region and we appreciate all those who helped to coordinate and plan the visits.

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Federal funds of $7 million were recently approved to four-lane another section of the Coalfields Expressway, now under construction, in Virginia. The first 2.57-mile section of the expressway, pictured, opened last year.

$7 Million for Virginia CFX Project Included in Federal Budget

Seven million in federal funding sought this fiscal year by the Virginia Coalfields Expressway (CFX) Authority with the assistance of Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Congressman Morgan Griffith was included in the budget bills signed by the President recently.

The senators made the announcement noting the $7 million for the Virginia Department of Transportation will be utilized to add additional lanes – an expansion from a two-lane highway to a four-lane highway to the 2.74-mile Poplar Creek Phase A section and the 2.07-mile Poplar Creek Phase B section of US 121/460 within Corridor Q and the Coalfields Expressway in Buchanan County.

Read more about the CFX project.

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VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, right and Russell County Economic Development Director Ernie McFaddin stand in front of Tate’s new location in St. Paul.


Southwest Virginia’s e-Region Projects Featured in Virginia Business Article

Check out this article in Virginia Business highlighting some of the important economic development announcements in which VCEDA has been involved in the past year. Creating jobs as we assist our seven-county, one-city region to grow and diversify is our goal. We continue to work with a variety of prospects interested in possibly growing or expanding their businesses here in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region.

Read more about economic development in Virginia’s e-Region.

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VEDA Recognizes St. Paul, Lyric Theater with Award

Congratulations were in order for the Town of St. Paul and the Lyric Theater, for having been selected for a 2024 Community Economic Development Award by the Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA).

Six communities in the Commonwealth were recently recognized for initiatives advancing economic viability through economic and community development programs.

VCEDA was pleased to be one of the funders of the Lyric Theater renovation, providing $140,000 in grant funds to help develop phases one and two of the overall project.

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SVAM Women in Manufacturing Event Held

VCEDA was pleased to be in attendance at the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing (SVAM) Women in Manufacturing Symposium earlier this month. VCEDA Marketing Ambassador Diane Thomas represented VCEDA at the event which was held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, VA. The event celebrated Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, highlighting the significant contributions, value and future of women in the manufacturing sector. Karin Lund, author, CEO & founder of G-Power Global Enterprises, was the guest speaker.

The 2024 winners of the “Outstanding Women in Manufacturing Award” across various categories were also announced and included, in the Administrative Support Category: Agnes Wright, Hitachi Energy USA, Inc.;in the Hourly/Production Category: Carolyn Caudill, SIG; and in the Management category: Carrie Bowers, Strongwell. Congratulations to this year’s winners!

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A ceremonial check for $79,971.33 was presented to Breaks Park Superintendent Austin Bradley, left, by VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher, representing funds for improvements to the park’s water tank.

Grant to Breaks Park Will Make Water Tank Improvements 

An up to $79,971.33 grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Civil Penalties Fund to be used to develop infrastructure and improvements at the Breaks Interstate Park, specifically repainting, repairs and improvements to the park’s existing potable water tank was recently closed.

The Breaks Interstate Park owns and maintains its own potable water distribution systems, including water storage towers. The primary storage tank holds 60,000 gallons and was installed in the 1970s. The park recently had the tank inspected and the inspection results indicate the interior and exterior of the tank need to be repainted and repairs are needed to the foundation and other areas.

Read More about the Breaks Interstate Park water tank. 

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Tanner Hale recently opened his new leather crafting business, Appa Bagworks LLC, on Main Street in Tazewell. Appa Bagworks LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching grant.

Seed Capital Grant Approved for Appa Bagworks LLC

Functional and fashionable artisan-made leather purses, bags, wallets, belts and accessories are the primary goods manufactured and sold at Appa Bagworks LLC, a new business operating on Main Street in Tazewell. The retail store opened near the end of last year and also features a workshop where owner, Tanner Hale, crafts the leatherworks items. Additionally, Appa Bagworks offers leather repair services.

Appa Bagworks LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant.

Read more about Appa Bagworks, LLC.

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Melinda Edwards recently opened her new business, a coffee and bakery shop, The Well on Main LLC, in Clintwood, VA. Her business was a recent recipient of a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching grant.


The Well on Main LLC Approved for Seed Capital Grant

From gourmet coffees and iced coffees; to smoothies and juices, The Well on Main LLC in Clintwood, VA, offers a little something for everyone, including bakery items featuring old favorites and a changing menu of daily specials. Owner, Melinda Edwards, noted the new business, located near the Ralph Stanley Museum and Jettie Baker Center, sells to the local community as well as to visitors.

The Well on Main LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant.

Read more about The Well on Main LLC.

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Wesley Rose and Heather Keen are finalizing plans to open a new food truck business serving barbecue and sides in Clintwood later this spring.  Bona Fide Barbecue, LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 VCEDA Seed Capital Matching grant.

Bona Fide Barbecue, LLC Approved For Seed Capital Grant

Turning his long-held love of cooking barbecue for family and friends from the dream of operating his own small business into opening one is something Wesley Rose has been working on since late 2023 as he began the process to outfit a food truck in Clintwood, VA and to complete necessary certifications to open Bona Fide Barbecue, LLC later this spring. The new business will offer a unique take on classic barbecue with a fair food twist, using fresh, local ingredients whenever possible.

Bona Fide Barbecue, LLC was a recent recipient of a $10,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) Seed Capital Matching Grant. 

Read more about Bona Fide Barbecue, LLC.

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New Food City Store Opens in Clintwood

Congratulations to Dickenson County, the Town of Clintwood and KVAT Food Stores on the opening of the new Food City in Clintwood in late February. A ribbon cutting was held at the new store which replaces the former location and is on what was once the former Clintwood High School site.

In 2020, VCEDA approved an up to $950,000 grant to the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) to be used to finance the costs associated with development of two new economic development sites in that county.

Part of the funds were used for the demolition of the Clintwood High School and annex, as well as for site development, site grading and other improvements and costs associated with the project to create a new economic development site in Clintwood to make way for the new Food City project.

Also included in the grant were funds to be used for the demolition of the former Haysi High School to create another economic development site in Dickenson County. Both of the locations became available as economic development sites after the consolidation of the former schools into the new Ridgeview High School outside of Clintwood.

Read more about the new Food City.

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VCEDA Ad in Virginia Business Magazine

VCEDA had an an in the March issue of Virginia Business which focused on the unique incentives, amenities and programs found in Southwest Virginia’s e-Region.

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