NRVRC staff, and town staff and residents from Pembroke and Narrows in Giles County are currently working on a project to encourage redevelopment of downtown 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 Pembroke and Narrows 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.

The Towns have contracted 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 conducted two public input sessions for both Pembroke and Narrows on August 9th and 10th, providing an opportunity to help guide the redevelopment designs. The concepts for Narrows include a walking trail along Wolf Creek, improvements to buildings near the farmers market and along Monroe Street, and improved signage along US 460 to direct visitors downtown. The concepts for Pembroke include improvements to the streets and buildings in the area around Cascades Drive and Snidow Street, a walking trail along Little Stony Creek to the New River, and improvements to US 460 to increase pedestrian access and safety. NRVRC staff have drafted an economic restructuring plan that includes information on current retail sales and spending habits by outdoor recreation tourists, and recommendations for activities to encourage small business development and attraction of visitor spending to the towns.

The project is part of a Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) ‘Downtown Revitalization’ 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 securing a DHCD Community Improvement Grant (CIG), 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 2016, with the towns applying for CIG grant funding in Spring 2017.

For further information, please contact Patrick O’Brien (, 540-639-9313, ext. 206.