Regional - Southwest Virginia
Case Study | Downtown Tazewell's Main Street Program
Events, Events, Events
The Town of Tazewell, located in Southwest Virginia, is in coal mine country and is labeled a distressed community in a distressed region of Appalachia. As the industry closes down mines, it lays off workers. The population has decreased, businesses have shuttered, and the tax base has taken a hit. Making do with less has become a way of life as young people, and families move to brighter economic opportunities.
The town hired a marketing and community development director to energize the community, bring attention to the downtown corridor and reverse the empty storefronts. The position was charged with organizing events downtown to create community awareness, draw interest in new businesses, and support those already based in Tazewell.
This role also served as a grant writer who generated additional dollars for other unmet programs and projects. Ultimately, these efforts should allow the city to meet the criteria necessary to be designated an official Virginia Main Street program.
Accepted as a Main Street program opened up more funding doors for the town. As the community began to thrive, the residents proudly pulled together, investors gained interest in adding lodging, and restaurants opened downtown. More grant opportunities presented themselves, including funding for the Back of the Dragon Visitor Center – the town is one of two destinations on this windy section of highway. Tourism has increased due to the regular downtown events and motorcycle enthusiasts stopping at the new visitor center.
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