The Patrick County Economic Development Authority (EDA) received $500,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission at the Southern Virginia Committee meeting held in Bristol on May 12.
EDA Director Sean Adkins, who traveled to Bristol to speak to the commission, said getting the funding is “the first major milestone really.”
The funds will be used for the first phase of work on the Patrick County Business Development Center, according to Adkins, with funds used to renovate the top floor of the center and install heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units for the entire building.
Adkins said Del. Wren Williams, R-Stuart, also attended the commission meeting in Bristol. Williams was helpful and advocated for the project.
“He came and he spoke in favor of the project, obviously. In talking to the commission members at the reception after, they said that was a very positive thing,” he said.
Williams said for years, the district has been losing businesses, people, and jobs.
“Investment like this is vital so we can reverse the decline and give our communities a helping hand,” he said. He added that grant funding is a huge win because it helps get the local economic development on track without adding to the overburdening of taxpayers and “will make our localities a better place to live and do business.”
Adkins said the EDA will hold interviews with design and construction firms that responded to a Request for Proposals (RFP) later this month.
“So, whichever firm we pick, and they have done their work we will pretty much have a final specific cost and then a pretty concrete timeline after that,” he said.
Adkins said the grant funding also is contingent upon the $700,000 in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funding the EDA applied for in early February.
“I reached out to them to see where they’re at, and it sounds like we’re going to hear in the near future about that,” he said.
If all funding for the project is received, Adkins said it will essentially cover the costs of completing the first phase.
“Then, because the HVAC system is going, that would mean we would likely be able to open it after the first phase is complete while we work on the second phase downstairs,” he said.
He anticipates construction to begin sometime in early 2023 and the first floor to be open by late 2023. He believes the entire project will be finished by early 2024.
Adkins noted that the county has not had many projects go to the commission and some of those that were did not gain approval.
“It’s no insignificant decision for them to approve this, and it’s also not insignificant of a moment for Patrick County. This is a big, big step to keep the positive momentum we’ve got going,” he said.