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Homegrown effort hoping to revitalize Bassett area
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Above, the Old Dominion Cloggers dance while the band Two Young, Two Old plays at the EMI building, formerly John D. Bassett High School, at the Shindig on the Green 2010. (Contributed photo)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A homegrown, grassroots effort to support, revitalize and improve the town of Bassett and neighboring areas is gaining momentum, with many events and amenities put in place in the last three years.

The Greater Bassett Area Community Inc. (GBAC) was organized more than three years ago by local residents and business leaders who wanted to work together to improve the community, according to Matt and Ruby Davis.

The GBAC recently became a nonprofit with a 501(c)3 status, they said.

To date, the agency has organized a volunteer effort to light the streets in Bassett and used community donations to get additional street lights from Appalachian Power Co. (APCo). The street lighting effort requires a three-year commitment of funds from sponsors for a single street light. So far, 10 lights have been installed.

Additional contributions are needed.

The GBAC also organized efforts to beautify Bassett and the Fairystone Park Highway (Virginia 57) corridor. Donations to the beautification effort have paid MARC Workshop for mowing, while GBAC volunteers also mowed and weeded areas in the community.

The group’s volunteers have partnered with Gateway Streetscapes Inc. to plant trees and shrubs and the Dan River Basin Association to clean the banks of Smith River in the Bassett community.

The agency also appreciated the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT’s) weed-spraying efforts, Matt Davis said in a release.

In addition, GBAC organized the Bassett Community Market in the former Bassett train depot, which is the only combination passenger-freight depot remaining on the former Norfolk & Western railway line to run through the Bassett community. The market provides a venue for the sales of local produce, baked goods and crafts. It also has become a place to eat lunch and enjoy local musical talent.

The market is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays. Anyone interested in participating is welcome.

Shindig on the Green, a monthly summer musical event, also was organized by the GBAC, Davis said. The free event is held on the fourth Saturday during summer at the former J.D. Bassett High School.

The GBAC also actively works with local clubs, nonprofits and businesses and “is greatly appreciative of the efforts” of numerous partners as well as “and the great local musical talent of the community,” Davis said.

The GBAC hosts a BCM Christmas Bazaar at the depot in conjunction with the annual Bassett Christmas Parade and also has participated in the annual Bassett Heritage Days by partnering with the Bassett Historical Center, which hosts the historic memorabilia collections in the depot.

Recently, David Wright, CEO of EMI Imaging Inc. hosted a community meeting at the high school to highlight the efforts of EMI Imaging Inc., the GBAC, the Stanleytown Ruritans and Bassett Furniture Industries in Bassett and the surrounding area.

The GBAC meets at 10 a.m. on the third Monday of each month in the meeting room of EMI Imaging Inc.

The next meeting will be Aug. 19, and anyone interested in participating in the GBAC efforts or learning more is welcome.


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