Bath County February Update & Focus: The Bath County Economic Development Authority and the Bath County Office of Tourism and Economic Development, partnering with the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP), the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), successfully recruited Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. to Bath County in 2016. Bath County is proud that Speyside, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of oak barrels, will invest $5 million into the County and create up to 35 jobs manufacturing barrel staves. Importantly, this operation will also be sourcing 80% of its timber needs from Virginia landowners. The Commonwealth of Virginia and Bath County were jointly able to leverage a Governor’s Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund award to incentivize this operation, along with workforce funding support from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). Speyside is on track to be open for business by early September of 2017.
The County is also moving forward on the construction of a future Visitor Center and community event facility. The community is soliciting bids to demolish existing structures on an eight acre site to create a clean slate to begin work. Architectural and master planning service bids are expected to be solicited during the summer of 2017. This facility will be a wonderful addition to the County’s beautiful setting and strong tourism industry.
Bath County’s 2016 New Year’s Resolution: We resolve to finalize, obtain approval for and implement our newly crafted county-wide economic development strategic plan. We look forward to making our plan a reality.
February Update & Focus: Bath County has welcomed travelers from around the world and from all walks of life since the 18th century. Presidents, generals, kings, musicians, artists and writers as well as generations of families have enjoyed the gracious hospitality that is the trademark of the area. Famous for its mineral springs, outdoor recreation and cultural arts, Bath County is a captivating four-season destination.
In May of 2015, Bath County joined the surrounding counties of Alleghany, Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, Highland and Roanoke and the cities of Covington, Roanoke and Salem to form the new Virginia Mountains tourism region. The new designation by the Virginia Tourism Corporation became official on January 1, 2016, and will promote scenic drives throughout the mountains as connectors to charming towns and vibrant cities, each with its own genuine brand of local culture, historic sites and delicious food. This month, Bath County released their new tourism video that captures the beauty of the county as well as its personality influenced by its history, hospitality and arts community.
To build on this successful ecotourism-based economy with new jobs and a diversified local economy, Bath County is working through the final stages of a strategic economic development plan. This effort will allow the locality to emphasize and enhance their existing successful tourism industry, while expanding the economy to allow for future growth within the region. The County’s Board of Supervisors, Economic Development Authority, and refocused Office of Tourism and Economic Development are working together to finalize this strategic plan, lay the groundwork for implementation, and welcome a new economy to bucolic, historic, vibrant Bath County. For more information contact Maggie Anderson, Director of Tourism and Economic Development, and visit http://www.discoverbath.com/.