SPDC assists with Tobacco Commission & National Scenic Byways Project grants
With the assistance of the Southside Planning District Commission, the County of Brunswick received a $458,375 Economic Development grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission in October 2010, and the County received a $638,479 National Scenic Byways Project grant from the Department of Transportation in November 2011 to plan and construct a comprehensive tourist welcome center with interpretive displays, maps, brochures, and restroom amenities.
Brunswick County purchased the once regional office building of the International Paper Company situated on 1.7 acres for use as the Brunswick Byways Visitors Center. Strategically located on Highway 46 (Christanna Highway), the project site is well situated to attract and serve travelers.
Highway 46 is a Virginia Byway and is a gateway to Lake Gaston. The Brunswick Byways Visitors Center site is located on a prominent hilltop location within one mile of the Fort Christanna Historical Park and a planned canoe trail access on the Meherrin River, a State Scenic River. The site is approximately 3 miles south of U.S. Route 58 and the Town of Lawrenceville, and is 10 miles south of Interstate 85.
The Brunswick Byways Visitors Center, as a staging area and orientation resource, is pivotal to the implementation of the County's multifaceted tourism development plan. The Center will inform, attract and direct travelers in order to cultivate its resources for entrepreneurial opportunities and jobs and generate much needed revenue. The Brunswick County Tourism Association was formed to direct tourism development activities for the County and will direct daily operation of the Visitor Center.
Three full-time jobs will be retained and two (2) part-time jobs will be created as a result of this project.
The County has procured the architectural services of HagerSmith Design of Raleigh, NC to design interior and exterior renovations to the building and site. Museum Concepts of Arlington, VA has been procured to develop a storyline; write an exhibit script; design interior and exterior interpretive exhibits, fixtures, and graphics; design a brochure with a tear-off map; create a brand and/or logo for the Visitor Center; and design and produce a short film. Site signage and directional off-site signage will also be installed as part of this project.
Technical assistance and research in the development of interpretive resources has already been promised by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Department of Historic Resources (DHR), Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation, the Brunswick County Historical Society and the Saponi Tribe.
DHR will also provide archaeological artifacts from the excavations for public exhibition. A well-known potter of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe has even offered to donate pottery for display.
The Southside Planning District Commission is currently providing the County with grant administration services for this project. The anticipated project completion date is January 2015.