The Virginia Creeper trail. Photo by Mary Trigiani.

Here’s a round-up of business briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Maintenance work planned on Virginia Creeper Trail

TheU.S. Forest Service will spend $377,000 this fiscal year on maintenance projects on the Virginia Creeper Trail, the popular multi-use trail in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.  These investments are a part of funding from the Great American Outdoors Act, which aims to address backlogged maintenance needs on recreation facilities and increase access to public lands. Together with partners, including Washington County, the Town of Damascus and the Virginia Creeper Trail Conservancy, the Forest Service will replace trestles 30 and 31, improve the trail surface where erosion and use has damaged the trail and remove hazardous trees.

This maintenance project is a continuation of a collaborative approach to managing and maintaining the Virginia Creeper trail, a 34-mile multi-use rail-to-recreation trail located in Washington and Grayson Counties. The trail, which was once a railroad utilized to transport timber, steel, and coal, is now an economic and recreation staple in the communities of Damascus, Abingdon, and Washington County, seeing an estimated 250,000 visitors annually.

For additional information about the Forest Service implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act, visit:

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River District Association to hold another Start-Up Slam on Sept. 27

The River District Association in Danville will host another session of “Start-Up Slam.” Modeled aIer a poetry  slam, it is a fun community-oriented event where people share a meal, share creative business ideas, make new friends,  and network.

The second Start-Up Slam will be on September 27th, 6 pm to 8 pm at The River District Event Center (136 S. Ridge  Street).  

Anyone in the community is invited to attend (reservation required, limit 100 people). For just $10 per person (cash only  at the door), you can join other members of the community to have a simple meal – and share some of those great ideas  that you keep thinking up. Anyone age 5 and up can share their good business idea. Children under 5 can attend at no  cost but will not get to vote for their favorite idea.  

Up to 15 partcipants at the event are welcome to share their ideas with the crowd (3-minute limit), and attendees will  be able to vote on their favorite at the end of the evening. The top vote-getter takes home all the cash collected at the  door – no strings attached.

Those who wish to share their idea have the following guidelines:  

• Ideas must be new business ideas (not yet established). 

• Those who wish to share their idea will put their name in at the door. 

• Up to 15 names will be drawn randomly to present (if more than 15 people put their name in, not all may be  able to present). 

• Each presenter has 3 minutes to share one idea. 

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On hand for the ceremonial check presentation were, from left, Clintwood Mayor Danny Lambert; Dickenson County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Peggy Kiser; VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher; Dickenson County Administrator Larry Barton; and Dickenson County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Josh Evans. Courtesy of VCEDA

$60,000 VCEDA loan closed on Clintwood Site Development project

A loan of up to $60,000 loan for additional site development on an approximately one-acre lot in the Town of Clintwood was recently closed between the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) and the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority (IDA).

The funds will be used to install a stormwater detention system on the approximately 1.14 acre tract of property located in the town.

In December 2016, VCEDA approved an up to $300,000 loan to the Dickenson County IDA to be used to finance the purchase of the site, grading, development, construction of a retaining wall, installation of utilities and other improvements.

“According to the IDA’s application to VCEDA, a survey conducted after the grading of the site revealed that the disturbed area was 1.04 acres and that a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) stormwater permit would be required,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “The IDA believes the best option to meet the stormwater requirements is to install a stormwater detention system. ”

The new system proposed will reduce the peak water flow to pre-development levels to comply with the stormwater permit for the property and to comply with DEQ regulations, according to the IDA’s application. 

The IDA continues to market the property for potential development.

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Southwest Virginia tourism winners announced

Several regional businesses, organizations, and individuals were  recognized for their tourism successes by the Friends of Southwest Virginia during the Inaugural Southwest  Virginia Tourism Awards at the 3rd Annual Celebrate Tourism Summit on August 22 in Wytheville at the  Wytheville Meeting Center. 

This year’s awards category included Excellence in Tourism Marketing, Excellence in Tourism Partners, and  Excellence in Tourism Leadership. 

The Southwest Virginia Tourism Awards recognized the following Bristol businesses and organizations.  

• Best Long Video (Over 60 seconds) – Discover Bristol 

• Best Overall Destination Marketing Campaign – Discover Bristol 

• Best Rack Card or Brochure – Discover Bristol 

• Best Video Series for an Event – Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 

• Best COVID-19 Recovery Campaign – Discover Bristol 

• Outstanding Attraction of the Year – Bristol Motor Speedway 

• Outstanding Festival of the Year (2 or more days) – Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

• Outstanding New Tourism Partner of the Year – The Cameo Theater 

• Outstanding Volunteer – Sally Bolling, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion