Come to think of it, maybe the plan has simply been to lure commonwealth largesse instead of tourist dollars to Southwest Virginia all along. Shrewd move, fellas.
Anyway, the latest:
Before anyone gets too excited, last I heard, Ms. Davis is trying to unload her Virginia City & Gem Mine, although her reasons may have nothing to do with attendance figures and profitability.
Tourist attractions receive grant money
By Wayne Quesenberry, Wytheville Enterprise Staff
Four Wythe County tourist attractions and one in Bland County have received a state grant to promote their businesses. They must use the funds to advertise out-of-state.
“We’re tickled to death,” stated Ron Kime, who owns and operates two of the businesses, BW County Store at Big Walker Lookout and Big Walker Motel. “This is the first time five or six of us have gotten something together.” The other local attractions to benefit from the $5,000 Virginia Travel Corp. grant are Virginia City & Gem Mine and Deer Trail Park & Campground. The Wolf Creek Indian Village & Museum in the Bastian area of Bland County is included, too.
“Anything that helps us helps Virginia,” Kime added.
Jeanne Davis agrees with him. She owns and operates Virginia City & Gem Mine. “Tourism is one of the most important businesses in Virginia,” Davis remarked. “Supporting it makes sense. I’m delighted the state awarded us the grant.” (link)
And as for Mr. Kime's store and lookout, there's a wonderful view of the wilderness to be had there to be sure, but it's spoiled by the view of a massive pile of debris that was once his restaurant and gift shop that were consumed by fire years ago, an eyesore (and hazard to anyone going near it) that lingers to this day.
So you know, these aren't in any way government (or quasi-government) facilities. They are private enterprises run by individuals seeking to turn a profit off our burgeoning tourist industry. Or soon-to-be burgeoning tourist industry.
I honestly wish them all the success in the world.
Until that day comes (... pause ....), the government will continue to funnel money - and lots of it - into Southwest Virginia, in an ongoing attempt at placating those harboring the forlorn hope that tourists will be bringing us our salvation.
Sing it with me: