"The presentation was made in an effort to provide the county commissioners additional information on the initiative," Almond said. "I believe the information was positively received and we're looking forward to working with them.
"In general we also asked the commissioners for their continued support," she said.
The Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor is a 129 mile corridor that runs along U. S. 268 from N. C. 321 in Caldwell County through Wilkes and Surry counties to the Shallowford area in Yadkin County.
"The initiative builds on the infrastructure of the scenic byway," Almond said. "We just recently received notice of a $125,000 grant from the N. C. Rural Center that will fund our branding, website development, and a potential interactive trails exhibit at the new Northwest N.C. visitors center that's located on N. C. 421 in Wilkesboro, and have also received $25, 000 in matching funds from our partner organizations.
"We also have a pending grant with the N. C. Golden Leaf foundation," she said.
Earlier in May, the group met with a group of county commissioners, planners, town managers and other officials to ask for their continued technical and financial support.
Teresa Howell, Elkin's main street manager, attended the meeting and said "It has been very beneficial coming to the table and working together on this initiative. My interest also lies with the Overmountain Victory Trail corridor and the collaboration between the initiatives."
"The meeting with town officials we had earlier in the month allowed us to update our partners in the four county region," Almond said. "We have a vision for the initiative that says: 'The vision of the Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor is a regional eco- and heritage tourism destination centered by a system of multi-use greenways and trails linking major historic and cultural heritage sites and communities along the Yadkin River and connected via passenger rail service provided through partnership with the Yadkin Valley Railroad.'
"We're in the process of applying for 501-3(c) status," she said. "We're been working with over 30 organizations and agencies over the last five years, since the initial initiative began as the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. In 2007, an economic study was done of the area and we worked with the National Park service, river and trails and the conservation assistance program to develop a master plan."
In speaking of the railroad mentioned in the vision, Almond said that it has always been a dream of the initiative to someday develop a rails with trails and /or a seasonal passenger service for the initiative.
"We have an exciting four county regional collaboration with this initiative," Almond said. "We hope to develop a strong tourism infrastructure and quality of life amenities with the Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor."
The group continues to hold regular meetings to update the partners within the four county region.