Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the status of the project application.
DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Local officials requested $150,000 in federal funding for the creation of a new business incubator community in Clinchco, Virginia.
According to an application for an Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grant by the Town of Clinchco, town officials hope to build a new ‘Tiny Business Village’ that lowers barriers for new business owners and brings critical tax dollars to the community.
The village could take a variety of shapes but was pitched for a site along Dickenson Highway that currently sits unused.
In the application, town officials said that Clinchco has only one tax-paying business to help fund local services. With the construction of the space, an estimated total of 15 new jobs and six businesses would be created.
In census data provided in the application, Clinchco reportedly had a poverty rate of 44.9%. With a median household income of $14,545 and a population of 303, officials said the area is in “dire need” of economic development.
The stretch of Dickenson Highway that passes the project site reportedly sees nearly a million drivers pass by each year, and could serve as a lifeline for local entrepreneurs.
“The Village already has a waiting list of entrepreneurs ready to begin development of their businesses,” the application said. “And will likely maintain a list of small business owners waiting for vacancies once the Village has opened.”
To make opening easier, the project application said rent and utilities would be offered to businesses at a steep discount. Each business that moves in would sign a short-term contract and receive training from the Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce, with the expectation that they would move elsewhere in the area as they grow.
Spectrum Design, an architecture and engineering firm hired to develop the idea, cited other small business incubators as successful examples:
- Tionesta Market Village – Tionesta, Pennsylvania
- Anchor Square – Pascagoula, Mississippi
In addition to small businesses, the application said the site could also be built to accommodate events, performances and public art to help bolster local entertainment.
While the funding was not recommended as part of Fiscal Year 21’s grant cycle, commonwealth officials said applicants can always try again next year.