Blue Grass Resource Center's Board
Richard G. Johnstone, Jr. president and CEO of the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives, and editor and publisher of Cooperative Living magazine. He and his wife live in Richmond and own a home in Blue Grass. Johnstone serves as BGRC Vice President.
Chanda G. Sponaugle a native of the Blue Grass area of Highland County. She works for the Blue Grass Valley Bank as Compliance Officer. She is a member of the Blue Grass United Methodist Church and the long-time past treasurer and current member of the Blue Grass Ruritan Club. Sponaugle serves as BGRC Treasurer.
Nancy F. Witschey represents the Highland EDA. She is also a member of Friends of Highland County State Park, former chair and current member of the EDA, and member of the broadband planning team, which evolved to become the Bath-Highland Broadband Authority. Witschey serves as BGRC secretary.
The Blue Grass Resource Center’s Mission
Prior owners of the Inn have strived to make a living, but cash-flow from operations has not been sufficient to cover capital expenditures and proper maintenance. In 2015, The Highland Center bought the Highland Inn to keep the historic lodging establishment open for visitors and to grow mid-week business through retreats and conferences.
Recognizing the importance of the Inn as our “anchor business,” the Highland County Economic Development Authority (EDA) worked with the Highland Center in early 2019 to identify a nonprofit organization whose sole focus would be to purchase the Inn, and preserve it by keeping the Virginia Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) grant in place. The EDA will continue to be a strong partner in this public/private venture. As a partner, the EDA is able to qualify for grant opportunities that may not be available to nonprofits. The IRF grant is one such example.
The nonprofit selected to own, renovate, and arrange for its long-term operation was the nonprofit Blue Grass Resource Center. Nonprofit ownership allows us to accept tax-deductible contributions for this historic preservation project.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, The Blue Grass Resource Center’s mission is three-fold:
1. Complete the historic preservation and renovation of the Highland Inn;
2. Address the prospect of educational, internship and partnership opportunities flowing from the Inn’s status as a culinary and hospitality center of Highland County; and
3. Resolve post-renovation issues, such as long-term management of the Inn, in accordance with the values and vision of Highland County.