Bristol, Va. city manager talks economic development after Cabela’s closure


BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – While Cabela’s is leaving The Falls retail development, new business opportunities might be coming to Bristol.

After the Bristol, Va. City Council meeting Tuesday, City Manager Randall Eads spoke to News Channel 11 about potential businesses coming to the city.

“We hope to make a couple of announcements here sometime this spring, we’re still working with some retailers that would be moving into The Falls and at this time I can’t disclose any of that, though,” Eads said.

Also at The Falls retail development, Cabela’s abruptly closed its doors Sunday night, merging with its parent company, Bass Pro Shops in Bristol, Tenn. Eads told News Channel 11 that Cabela’s still owns the building, though.

“I’ve heard that they are actively marketing the building and they have had some discussion with developers about the possibility of selling that building. We’re just going to have to sit back and see,” Eads said. “I will work with Cabela’s as much as I possibly can to help that process and hopefully, they’ll reach out to us here soon. I know we’re going to reach out to them as well.”

Down the road at the old Bristol Mall, Dharma Pharmaceuticals received the first permit by the Commonwealth to grow cannabis.

However, if the developers at the mall finalize a deal with the proposed Hard Rock Casino, the developers could ask Dharma to vacate the property.

“We have to receive an economic development package from the owners of the Bristol Mall which we have not received yet, once that process if we do receive an economic development package from the owners of the Bristol Mall then according to the exception to the permit that they have they would have one year to move to another location,” Eads explained.

Bristol, Va. City Council meeting

In July 2019, city officials closed all of the concrete bleachers with concrete lintels at Boyce Cox Field until further notice.

SEE ALSO: Bristol Pirates home plate bleachers closed until further notice

At the Bristol, Va. City Council meeting Tuesday, the council approved a contract with Bleachers International for $67,000 to replace the bleachers at Boyce Cox Field.

“They were the low bid on the contract, we’ve checked the references. Everyone that had done business with them in the past were satisfied with all the work that they had done and this is something that we had to do based on the fact that the bleachers that were previously at Boyce Cox Field were deemed to be unsafe by our structural engineers,” Eads said.

The new bleachers will seat 300 people. A four-inch concrete slab will have to be poured on which the bleachers will be built.

Council members said that the Bristol, Va. Schools will pay for half of the cost.

Another replacement voted into action at the meeting was that of the Oak Street Bridge.

SEE ALSO: Oak Street Bridge in Bristol, Va closed indefinitely starting this week

Eads explained that the Oak Street Bridge has continuously received a poor rating from the state, so in June 2018, city officials decided to close it.

“Due to the fact that some residents wanted it permanently closed and removed, we know that the state was going to fund building the bridge, but we also were asking the state would they fund if we would just deconstruct the bridge, unfortunately, the state will not fund just the deconstruction, but they will fund the building of a new bridge,” Eads said.

Based on Tuesday night’s council action, a new bridge will be constructed with funds from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

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