TAZEWELL, Va. — In hopes of stimulating new job creation and growth, Tazewell County is expanding the borders of its two existing enterprise zones.

The existing enterprise zone near Bluefield, Va. will be expanded to include all 680 acres of the proposed Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Park site near Bluefield, Va. The existing enterprise zone in Claypool Hill will be expanded to include the Richlands area.

“What you are doing is adding more land into our enterprise zone,” County Administrator Jim Spencer said. “Being in the enterprise zone means businesses that are located there are eligible for more incentives.”

The Virginia Enterprise Zone program was established by the General Assembly in 1982. Spencer said an enterprise zone is a partnership between the state and local government that aims to stimulate job creation and private investment within the designated area. The first enterprise zone in Tazewell County was created in 1999.

“This would incorporate the Bluestone (project) into the enterprise zone,” Spencer said. “Plus the enterprise zone at Claypool Hill would be extended into Richlands. This is a part of our economic development plan not only for the Bluestone, but also for the western end of the county.”

The county Board of Supervisors approved the two enterprise zone expansions last Thursday.

Northwestern District board member-elect Seth White asked Spencer at Thursday’s meeting if the revised designation would include most of downtown Richlands.

“As far as I know, all of Richlands is in it,” Spencer said.

White said the designation will help with ongoing economic development efforts in Richlands.

Spencer said an enterprise zone designation is valid for a 20 year period. Spencer said the Enterprise Zone Act of 2005 provides grant-based incentives for job creation and real property investments for those businesses located within an enterprise zone.

— Contact Charles Owns at cowens@bdtonline.com

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