The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has announced the Towns of Pearisburg and Rich Creek have each received grants of nearly $700,000 through the Community Development Block Grant program. The grants provide funding to construct public space improvements and repair the facades of commercial buildings in the downtown ‘Main Street’ areas of both towns, as part of a broader strategy to increase business investment in vacant downtown buildings, and attract visitors and customers to spend money in the downtown areas. The grants are the latest investment by DHCD in Giles County, which has supported a similar project in Narrows, as well as several smaller projects that build on Giles County and the towns’ efforts to increase economic opportunities and business development, with a focus on promoting the County’s many outdoor recreation amenities and connecting them to the towns’ business districts.
Over the past several years, Giles County and the towns have been working with regional and state partner agencies to transform downtown areas into thriving commercial districts again. A recent planning process supported by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) outlines an array of projects to advance a ‘Main Street approach’ to downtown revitalization in each town (more on the Virginia Main Street program at: http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/mainstreet). The related initiatives include: planned physical improvements to downtown buildings and public spaces to create attractive destinations for visitors and new businesses; the expansion and coordination of small business development support resources, and; tourism promotion and marketing efforts designed to connect downtown-based businesses to potential customers—with a special focus on the many visitors to Giles County’s numerous outdoor recreation amenities.
The towns are surrounded by outdoor recreation attractions, including fishing and watersports on the New River, campgrounds and National Forest facilities, and miles of scenic hiking and biking trails. Through initiatives such as the New River Water Trail (www.newriverwatertrail.com), the Giles County Tourism Office and the towns are working to make sure that potential visitors are aware of all the outdoor adventures Giles County can offer- and also that nearby local businesses can provide food, shopping, and services during their trip. The CDBG projects support these plans with investments in physical improvements to the downtown districts to create inviting, thriving commercial areas for visitors to enjoy, and an attractive location for businesses to invest.
For more information about these and other ongoing economic development projects in Giles County, please contact Patrick O’Brien [email protected], 540-639-9313