Will Jones headshot Mar 2019
Mar 04 2019

Introducing Will Jones

Will Jones is a recent Virginia Tech graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Economic Management. He is interested in international and domestic economic development, particularly regarding rural areas, agriculture, and food security. In his free time, Will enjoys exploring local recreational opportunities, including hiking, cycling, climbing, and camping.

Headshot of Will Jones, intern for Communities of the New program in Giles County, Virginia

After completing his studies at Virginia Tech in December 2018, he began working in Giles County, VA, on the Communities of the New program. The Communities of the New is a project aimed at cooperative branding and development among the communities of the New River Valley. Through assessments of the communities involved and by encouraging regional communication and cooperation, the Communities of the New program aims to increase communities’ capacity to implement their own strategies for development.”

Supporting information on funding for role & program below, from August 2018:

Town of Narrows Receives 2019 Virginia Main Street Commercial District Affiliate Grant

Narrows, VA- The Town of Narrows has been awarded a 2019 Virginia Main Street Commercial District Affiliate grant in the amount of $7,000. These funds will be used to develop a collaborative approach to implement commercial district development among the five towns in Giles County, and increase the ability of each town to develop and implement their own strategies following the Virginia Main Street approach. The ultimate outcome of the grant is to create a “Hometowns of the New River Valley” initiative in Giles County, building on the successful ‘Hometowns of the Clinch’ model that towns along the Clinch River have developed for their communities. The Town of Narrows is partnering with the Giles County Tourism Office and the New River Valley Regional Commission for the implementation of this grant.

The Commercial District Affiliate grant is offered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development through the Virginia Main Street Program, the state’s coordinating program for Main Street America. The grants are designed to provide funding for projects or services that will assist communities or organizations in achieving their downtown revitalization goals. These grants are available to more than 80 Commercial District Affiliates that have registered with Virginia Main Street.

This year’s grants total $35,000 and were awarded to the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization in Arlington County, Russell County on behalf of the Dante Community Association, the city of Galax, and the towns of Narrows, Glade Spring, and Stanardsville.

“Downtown revitalization is key to creating stronger entrepreneurial ecosystems in our Main Street Commercial District Affiliate communities,” said Erik Johnston, director for the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. “Though small in size, these projects will have a lasting impact in the communities they will be serving.”

Virginia Main Street has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts in Virginia for more than 30 years. As of today, the program is a network of 28 designated communities and more than 80 affiliate communities who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 2012, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $272 million in private investment, generated more than 3,000 net new jobs, and garnered more than 406,000 volunteer hours.


Giles County, Virginia is located in Southwest Virginia approximately 40 minutes south of Roanoke and just west of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech. With easy access to the New River, world class dining and lodging properties, and historical attractions for the entire family, Giles offers adventure in Virginia’s Mountain Playground™. Come find your playground at our Visitors Center located at 203 N Main Street, Pearisburg, VA 24134 or find us online at gilescounty.org or by calling 540-921-2079. For interviews or onsite visits, please contact Cora Gnegy, Tourism Marketing Director. We can arrange and assist with any media needs. For more information about planning your visit to Giles County or about activities and events, please visit www.gilescounty.org or contact us at tourism@gilescounty.org.

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