SAVE OUR TOWNS returns for its fourth season and hits the ground running with a visit to Damascus, Virginia, where town leaders are seeking to nurture a year-round tourism-based economy.

We introduce Pennington Gap, the small town located in far Southwest Virginia, that will be followed over the course of the entire season. After a series of setbacks, town leaders are committed to helping the community thrive again.

L to R, Sylvia Jane Sergent, Ben Sergent III, Nancy J.H. Sergent, Birg E. Sergent, Lana Sergent, Darrell Crusenberry, not pictured Pamela Darlene Caudill. Also pictured, Mayor Larry Holbrook, Councilwoman Jill Carson



The property is comprised of approximately 3 acres, an 18,000 sq. ft. building, and 700 feet of riverfront adjacent to the Powell River.

The subject property is a strip shopping center building located on a three-acre tract of land.  The property is one building which was recently vacated in preparation for the transfer to the town of Pennington Gap. The property was originally built as a grocery store with an attached variety store by Caswell Walker and operated by the same owner.  The property was subsequently the location of a Payless Grocery Store and now the property has been renovated into a strip shopping center. The property most recently was used as a four-unit commercial center.

Last year, Pennington Gap town manager, Keith Harless, approached the property owners of the old Payless property about the future of the building to determine if they had any upcoming plans for the property.  After a considerable amount of discussions, Mr. Harless proposed an idea for the property owners to donate the property to the town in order to develop a new, innovative type of park- a park that is designed to include everyone. This park will not only include standardized park equipment, but the park will also include equipment that will accommodate everyone, including children with special needs. The new park will contain a strategic mix of playground equipment and activities supporting play for all ages and abilities. This park is designed for all children, especially for those with different needs such as autism and barrier challenges.  The park will also have an area set aside for fitness support for the actively aging society.

The estimated cost at this time to include an all-new playground, new bathrooms, a pavilion along the riverfront, and overlooks of the river designed for fishing, are estimated to be around $800,000.00. At this time the town has not appropriated any money but discussions have begun with private investors and many grant agencies.

Scouts in the River-Powell River Clean-up, was a great success. We thank everyone who came. It was a wonderful gathering for such good results. Some groups have committed to continuing the process. Over 13 tons of trash was removed!

On April 6th, Town Manger Keith Harless attended the Executive Board meeting of the Virginia Council for Litter Prevention and Recycling in Harrisonburg VA. 
The Town Of Pennington receives a non-competitive grant of $1,500 per year from the VCA. While attending the meeting, Mr. Harless spoke about the up-coming river clean-up with the Scouts on April the 21st. VCA then gave extra supplies for the town to help pick up litter. In the supplies are 400 coloring books for elementary students, 800 reusable grocery bags, 144 orange U tongs, 10 paper picker pins, and 109 class 3 safety vests. A total value of $4,000.00 worth of cleaning supplies was bestowed upon the town.  
Mr. Harless is very thankful to the Board for the supplies and saying “they would have given me more but, my car could not haul any more”. 
We hope to see everyone on April 21st to help use the supplies to clean the river and greenway.


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