NRVRC staff, and town staff and residents from Glen Lyn, Pearisburg, and Rich Creek in Giles County are in the middle of a project to encourage downtown redevelopment of commercial properties, and attract or start new businesses to serve visitors and local shoppers. The project focuses on highlighting opportunities and resources for outdoor recreation, including the New River, hiking trails, sports and camping. Giles County has many great outdoor amenities, and several ongoing efforts to increase tourism are working to make sure Giles County businesses capture more spending by visitors at stores, restaurants and hotels. The project in Glen Lyn, Pearisburg, and Rich Creek also aims to identify key retail properties and business opportunities for local entrepreneurs in the towns, helping local residents to gain the economic benefits from visitors to the natural beauty in the region.
Giles County is working with Hill Studio from Roanoke to create draft architectural designs for redevelopment of downtown areas, and conduct preliminary engineering work that will be used to create cost estimates for construction projects and other investments in key downtown properties. Hill Studio hosted design workshops in each of the three towns to develop initial concepts for these projects in late June, then presented them at a public open house at the Giles County Administration Building on July 19th.
The project is part of a Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) planning grant, which provides funding to develop a plan for downtown redevelopment and economic restructuring focused on developing businesses in target sectors related to the outdoor recreation and tourism economy. The Towns will use this plan as a basis for pursuing implementation grants from DHCD and other agencies, which would provide several hundred thousand dollars to make investments in top priority projects to improve infrastructure and provide repairs to key properties in the towns. The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2017, with the towns applying for grant funding in Spring 2018. The towns are coordinating with related efforts to pursue tourism-related economic development, including a POWER grant that will identify business development opportunities related to the New River, and a similar DHCD planning grant that has provided planning and designs for the downtown areas of the two other towns in Giles County, Narrows and Pembroke.
For more information about the planning grant project in Giles County towns, please contact Patrick O’Brien at the NRVRC, at 540-639-9313 x 206, or email at [email protected].