Input is sought on grant

January 19, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015 

Grant funding for projects related to the Smith River Small Towns Collaborative will be the topic of a public hearing in Bassett on Tuesday night. 

The hearing will be at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Bassett High School. The hearing will solicit input for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for priority projects of the collaborative, according to a news release from The Harvest Foundation.

“With the Smith River as the common denominator, the foundation created the Smith River Small Towns Collaborative in 2013,” said Nancy Cox, Harvest Foundation senior program officer, stated in the news release. “The purpose was to bring community leaders around the table to develop a shared vision for placemaking and destination tourism for Bassett, Stanleytown, Fieldale and Koehler.” 

The collaborative began meeting that year with Bill Adkins and Jeb Bassett as co-chairmen.

“The first product of the collaborative was a map of the 15 Magical Miles (from Bassett to Koehler), which features annual events, recreation, industrial heritage, historic sites, and dining, shopping and lodging,” said Bassett. 

The collaborative has identified two major areas on which to work with priorities for each, he said. One area is revitalization and curb appeal, which includes creation of town squares, cohesive and attractive signage, street lights, landscaping and façade improvements. The second area is enhanced amenities, such as connecting walking and biking trails, Bassett train depot improvements, a bait shop and outfitter, and an outdoor music venue.

A master plan was developed using a $35,000 CDBG planning grant received through Henry County that enabled the collaborative to apply for federal, state and local funds. That grant was a precursor to be able to apply for a $700,000 CDBG grant through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, according to Adkins. 

Tuesday’s public hearing is the first of two such hearings seeking input on the $700,000 grant application. 


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