DANBURY — The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region announced this week eight grant awards totaling $237,500 from the RiverBank Fund, including a $500 grant to the Stokes County Arts Council in support of river activities at the 41st Stokes Stomp Festival on the Dan, scheduled for Sept. 12 and 13 in Danbury. The fund was established last year to gather donations throughout Virginia and North Carolina earmarked for the protection and revitalization of the Dan River.
The grant award to the Stokes County Arts Council will support river education and awareness at the 41st Stokes Stomp, including festival marketing, Dan River Company children and adult canoe/kayak demonstrations, boat and swimming river safety clinics, river conservation information, and stand-up paddle board demonstrations.
“We are honored to have been chosen by The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region for this grant, and for being the only cultural arts organization funded,” said Stokes Arts Director Eddy McGee. “The Dan River is an enormous tourism and economic development asset that Stokes Arts will continue to promote and organize projects and activities around” he added.
The following grants were approved by The Community Foundation’s RiverBank Fund Advisory Committee and Board of Directors:
• Dan River Basin Association – To implement, the “Dan River Water Master Plan,” which combines local master plans, water quality improvement, river access development and regional promotion for the entire Dan River Basin watershed.
• Roanoke River Basin Association – To improve citizen access to the Dan River in Halifax County through a new ramp at Leggett’s Bottom and to expand e-coli testing and benthic macroinvertibrate monitoring and analytical testing of water column and sediments in Halifax and Mecklenburg counties to the entrance of the Dan River into Kerr Lake in coordination with the Dan River Basin Association.
• Pittsylvania County – Parks and Recreation – To provide a “pledge” to help create a river access point along the Dan River west of the City of Danville along the Route 58 bypass if other required funds are raised.
• Halifax County – Department of Tourism – To promote the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway as a safe and protected environment and a tourist destination. Grant funds should be used towards a marketing campaign including a video, and other promotions of the Blueway to a larger market. Regional coordination with other organizations is requested to include information from the entire Dan River Basin where possible
• City of Danville – Parks and Recreation – To assist in development of Sandy Creek Park, a 6.9 acre tract of land located on Riverside Dr. adjacent to the current Dan River Church center.
• Piedmont Land Conservancy – To develop a Lower Mayo River Recreation and Access Plan for the portion of the river extending from the Business 220 crossing downstream to the confluence of the Mayo and Dan Rivers, and including Big Beaver Island Creek through the town of Madison up to Mayodan’s Farris Memorial Park.
• Rockingham County Schools – To help construct and equip an outdoor classroom on Big Beaver Island Creek, an important tributary to the Dan River, so that a minimum 150 students each year can participate in water monitoring programs and other environmental education.
Eligible programs had to address at least one of the five focus areas:
1. Responsibly address water quality for regional residents and companies.
2. Encourage new development that ecologically features the River.
3. Improve the cleanliness of the River and the Basin and help protect it from environmental threats.
4. Increase access to the River for family-friendly sports, recreation and entertainment.
5. Effectively promote the River to build regional pride and encourage tourism.
A regional advisory committee was formed to help guide the development of the fund and the strategic disbursement of grant funds.
Donations to the RiverBank Fund are still being sought from individuals, organizations and businesses that have interest in helping to improve the quality and caliber of life all along the Dan River. Duke Energy has been a major contributor to the fund, with a $250,000 donation in 2014. Donations may be made online at www.RiverBankFund.org.
The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region is a public charity established in September 1996 by a steering committee of civic leaders to improve and enrich area lives through the generosity of donors and has already returned more than $17 million in community grants and scholarships. The office can be reached at 541 Loyal Street, Danville, VA, 24541, (434) 793-0884 or at www.cfdrr.org or www.RiverBankFund.org.