Appalachian Exposition Center slated to open soon
WYTHEVILLE, Va. — Sponsors of bull sales, rodeos, indoor Motor Cross racing, Christian music and bull riding and cattle roping are expressing an interest in being among the first to use the new Appalachian Regional Exposition Center (APEX) here in Wythe County, Va.
Matthew Miller, Wythe County Extension agent and APEX board member, predicts the new multi-purpose facility will be finished by Labor Day.
Miller said the contractual completion date is Sept. 27 and estimated the work on the center was 75 percent complete Aug. 8 when he was interviewed by telephone.
He characterized three consignment bull sales as being the “initial tentative” events.
He said he expects dates for the two production sales being planned by breed groups and one private production sale to be announced in the near future.
The facility’s website is announcing the official opening to be held Nov. 11.
The center which is expected to boost the economy in Southwest Virginia sits on a prime site on the south side of the Interstate 81/77 corridor at Exit 73 between Fort Chiswell and the Town of Wytheville.
Research shows that more than 80,000 vehicles pass on the dual interstate on a daily basis.
The APEX building is a 200-by-300-foot structure with seating capacity of 2,000 to 3000 people.
The building has a 150-foot arena in the center. Bleachers will surround it. Seating is expected to be installed early in September.
Funding for the project includes a $750,000 economic development grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission awarded in 2015 and $3 million from Wythe County. In addition, donations have come from private contributions, the Virginia Farm Bureau and other community organizations and businesses.
Miller explained the facility will be run by a contracted management firm. He said negotiations were underway with the firm as he spoke.
It will choose the manager of APEX and is expected to hire staff from the local labor pool as well.
APEX us governed by a board appointed by the Wythe County Board of Supervisors. Ground was broken in October 2017 and work on the site started shortly afterward.
“The governing board is very interested in communicating with any parties interested in providing events,” Miller said. He noted that APEX is a multipurpose facility equipped to handle many different types of activities.
Anyone interested in using the APEX center may contact Blake Stowers, Wythe County public information officer, at 276-223-4522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporters of the project have been suggesting for years that such a facility will not only attract local people but those from the surrounding states of North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
They have seen it as a way to display the many facets of life in Southwest Virginia. It was originally seen as a project to showcase agriculture in the area but has grown to include many other events.
The people working to make it a reality point out it will be the largest facility of its kind west of Roanoke.
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