This week, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that the Town of Ashland will receive $20,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) Regional Marketing Program. This is the second consecutive year the Town has been awarded this tourism grant. In 2022, the Town received a grant to launch a new visitor website and mobile planning widget.
Bottom line: The Town received a $20,000 grant for the future development and marketing of Berkleytown Heritage Park. The funding request was submitted in partnership with the Hanover County Black Heritage Society and the Hanover Branch of the NAACP. VTC’s tourism marketing and sponsorship programs are designed to increase visitor spending by leveraging limited marketing dollars, to stimulate new tourism marketing through partnerships, and to extend the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand to drive visitation.
- In total, VTC awarded more than $3.2 million for 236 local and regional tourism marketing programs across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.
- VTC’s marketing and sponsorship programs are powerful incentives for creating tourism partnerships across Virginia that are a robust part of Virginia’s economic ecosystem.
Why it matters: The Town, in partnership with residents of Ashland's historic African-American neighborhood, Berkleytown, will break ground on a new heritage park project in early 2024. In addition to providing green space and walking trails for residents and visitors to Ashland, the Town hopes this space will serve as a destination for Jim Crow and Civil Rights-era travelers, schools, and historical societies, as well as, honor the significant contributions of the African-American community in Ashland and commemorate the places that were central to black life in Ashland, including the John M. Gandy Training School (pictured above).
Go deeper: The Berkleytown neighborhood received official designation and listing as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in 2022. Ashland Town Council took formal action in 2021 to accept property from Hanover-King William Habitat for Humanity for the creation of the park.