PRESS RELEASE: Friends of Southwest Virginia & Regional Partners break ground on Riverwalk Project in Haysi, Virginia


Olivia Bailey
Director of Marketing

Friends of Southwest Virginia



Friends of Southwest Virginia & Regional Partners break ground on Riverwalk Project
in Haysi, Virginia

Regional partners stand with shovels and a box full of dirt at the future site of the Haysi Riverwalk.

(photo credit: Earl Neikirk)

(HAYSI, Va. – Nov. 18, 2022) ­– Friends of Southwest Virginia and the Town of Haysi, Va. held a celebratory groundbreaking ceremony in Downtown Haysi to celebrate the start of the Haysi Riverwalk project.  The project has been nearly 10 years in the making, and the Riverwalk will connect Main Street to its scenic natural assets by adding a handicap-accessible walkway to encourage users to engage with the Russell Fork River.

“Improving Haysi’s downtown pedestrian facilities and handicap accessibility to the river has been a priority since the downtown revitalization began in earnest,” said Haysi Mayor Larry Yates. “Haysi’s Riverwalk will allow an opportunity for all to enjoy the beautiful riverfront. The riverfront has traditionally been underutilized, but with better access, will be transformed into a tourism destination.”

The project is funded through a 2016 Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grant, the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Regional Trails Program, CPROP funding from the Cumberland Plateau Company, and additional support from the Cumberland Forest Community Fund.  Friends of Southwest Virginia serves as the fiscal agent for the project.  During the groundbreaking, town officials revealed a new project sign, which showcases all the funders involved with the project.

“We are excited to make the Haysi Riverwalk a reality,” Kim Davis, Friends of Southwest Virginia Executive Director, said. “Numerous regional partners and funders have advocated for this project for a long time, and this groundbreaking is another step forward in the downtown revitalization efforts for the town.”

The work includes the construction of handicapped access to the riverfront, improvements to an existing parking lot and trailhead, and way-finding improvements.

“We envision Haysi’s Riverwalk Trail will serve as a river trailhead with steps and a full handicap access ramp leading to the river and will encourage visitors to connect and engage with the beauty and nature of Haysi,” Yates said. “The area is already known as a favorite fishing spot and can be used as a launch or access area for kayaking, tubing, and non-motorized boats.”

“The Haysi Riverwalk project aligns with the Virginia ARC state objective to assist communities in the preservation, development, and promotion of natural and cultural assets to improve local economies and quality of life,” Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development program manager Kathi Boatright said. “The Russell Fork River is a tremendous natural and cultural asset for the Town of Haysi. We are excited to partner with the Town on this project, and we look forward to the outdoor recreation and economic benefits that will come from the creation of the riverwalk.”

The project management team looks forward to working closely with Inland Construction to complete the access in 2023.