- Associated Press - Friday, September 19, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — More than $850,000 in matching grant money is headed to 46 local tourism initiatives to help regional tourism officials attract more visitors.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the funding as part of Virginia Tourism Corp.’s marketing leverage program. Under the program, local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of a 2-1 ratio. That adds up to more than $3 million in new marketing for Virginia attractions.

The recipients of the grants reflect the diverse tourism landscape of Virginia. They include $50,000 grants each for the Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail, historic downtown Wytheville (WITH’-vihl), the Virginia Opera and the Castleton Festival.

Smaller grants are also headed to the town of Big Stone Gap, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, Robert E. Lee’s Stafford Hall and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

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