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Fancy Gap awarded ARC tourism grant

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

Another federal grant will benefit Fancy Gap as a gateway community to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The community won one of six tourism grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Fresh off getting more than $8 million in federal stimulus funds to pay for public water and sewer projects, Fancy Gap will also receive $38,500 for an interactive tourism information kiosk, according to the ARC.

As momentum builds toward the 75th anniversary of "America's favorite scenic drive" between the Shenandoah Valley and the Great Smoky Mountains, the ARC offered competitive grants, called the “Gems of Appalachia,” to enhance tourism opportunities for the parkway's gateway communities.

Carroll County applied for and received the grant to install an interactive electronic information station at Fancy Gap.

The electronic, touch-screen kiosk will track local and regional events and activities and provide maps and schedules to venues of interest for parkway tourists and travelers.

It could have a significant impact on tourism in Fancy Gap and the region, said Louis Segesvary, spokesman for the community. The Fancy Gap entrance is already the second most-used gateway along the parkway's 469-mile length.

"This is a good site and this is a good project," Segesvary said. "It should attract more visitors to the region's gateway communities."

The ARC received a total of 25 applications for $150,000 in grants.

Besides Fancy Gap, nearby Surry County, N.C., received a grant to create six thematic geo-guides that will explore and promote tours in Southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina.