By Nancy Lindsey\r\nPatrick County has applied for a planning grant of up to $40,000 for a Meadows of Dan revitalization project, according to Joseph Quesenberry, director of tourism and marketing.\r\nThere would be no local match and no county taxpayer funds required if the initial grant is approved by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Quesenberry said.\r\nFifty residents, including members of the Meadows of Dan Community Association, met at the Meadows of Dan Community Center Jan. 14 with Nick Proctor, a representative of the DHCD.\r\nThe planning grant would be used to develop an economic analysis and conceptual plans for carrying out the community\u2019s ideas, and would lead to the second phase of implementing the plans, Quesenberry said.\r\nThe amount of the second-phase Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is typically $700,000, but can be more. The project is listed in the county\u2019s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Priority Projects list at $2.3 million, but the actual amount would depend on how much state money is available and how the project is defined.\r\nProctor gave a program to the Meadows of Dan group illustrating how the grant was used to revitalize Cleveland, a small town in Southwest Virginia located on the Clinch River.\r\nThe grant was used to build sidewalks, develop a town park, additional parking, and a canoe launch, which also benefited other towns along the Clinch River, Proctor told the group.\r\nThe program led to new shops and businesses opening up in Cleveland, a large increase in population, and a total investment of $2 million in state, local and private business funds, Proctor said.\r\n\u201cWe will actually be one of the few counties (if not the only one) to apply for this grant,\u201d Quesenberry said. \u201cUsually it\u2019s towns that apply.\u201d\r\nThe town of Stuart has successfully applied for several DHCD grants in recent years, including those used for Mayo Court, Chestnut Street and Forest Lane, downtown revitalization and uptown revitalization.\r\n\u201cThe state guy was absolutely blown away\u201d by the number of people who attended the meeting, Quesenberry said. Few introductory meetings have that kind of attendance, he said.\r\nSome of the ideas floated in the meeting included a walking trail from Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Nancy\u2019s Candy Factory; an amphitheatre, park, water and sewer facilities, sidewalks and additional parking spaces, park benches, public restrooms, and street lights.\r\nThe overriding goal, for both the Meadows of Dan community leaders and the state grant-funding agency, is to improve the area\u2019s economy, fill up vacant buildings, stimulate job growth, and rejuvenate the business section, Quesenberry said.\r\nAnother advantage of the grant program would be a facade improvement loan of up to $10,000 per business, which would be forgiven after a certain period.\r\nFew areas have such a beneficial tourism location as Meadows of Dan, being adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, he said, adding that a recent study showed 15 million people visit the parkway annually.\r\n\u201cDue to good weather in December, the largest number visited the parkway that month since 2008,\u201d Quesenberry said.\r\nThe exact area to be targeted by the grant has not yet been delineated, Quesenberry said. That will be decided by community leaders in Meadows of Dan and aided by aerial mapping, he said.\r\nThe state agency is trying to link revitalization efforts with existing programs such as the Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail, the \u2018Round the Mountain Artisan Trail, and the new Appalachian Spring (which focuses on outdoor recreation) and the Virginia Brew Trail (which celebrates breweries), Quesenberry said.\r\nThese driving tours or planned experiences can be combined to create a variety of vacation plans\u2014and could easily include Meadows of Dan, Quesenberry said.\r\nThe grant application is supported by County Administrator Tom Rose, Blue Ridge District Supervisor Karl Weiss, Chris Owens, chairman of the Patrick County Tourism Advisory Council, and the Meadows of Dan Community Association.