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Funds Sought For Visitor’s Center

Halifax County and Town of South Boston Industrial Development Authorities (IDAs) are teaming with the Halifax County Office of Tourism to jointly seek a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission to build a Visitor’s Center in South Boston. After discussing the proposed Visitor’s Center behind closed doors Monday night, supervisors emerged in open session to approve a resolution authorizing the joint application by the county and town IDAs and tourism board by the Aug. 16 deadline for $500,000 grant.

Earlier in the day, the county IDA had approved a resolution supporting submission of an application to the Southside Economic Development Committee of the Tobacco Commission.

According to town and county officials, the application will seek approximately $500,000 in grant funding from the tobacco commission to build a visitor’s center on Highway 58 in South Boston.

With the addition of a visitor’s center, “you can anticipate conservatively a 6 percent increase in spending in your county,” Sexton said. “What you’re talking about is more people coming into your county to spend money.”

He said the county is looking into the possibility of receiving funds from the tobacco commission to build a visitor’s center that will increase the tax base and create 91 jobs in “a retail boost.”

“We’re cobbling this together trying to make it revenue neutral, and you’ve got 91 jobs added,” the county IDA executive director continued.
He attributed the 91 jobs to increased sales that would be generated by a visitor’s center.

“Whenever you get increased sales, you have to have retail people to support those sales,” he said.

South Boston Town Manager Ted Daniel said when The Prizery was renovated, a visitor’s center was envisioned as part of that facility.

However, he noted location of The Prizery and parking availability doesn’t lend itself to serving people passing through on a major thoroughfare as would a certified state visitor’s center located on Highway 58.

“We think we have found a place. It’s a great project,” Daniel said.

However, he declined to publicly identify the location of where the visitor’s center will be located on Highway 58 since negotiations are pending.