BASSETT – On Thursday morning, officials broke ground at a new tourism project in Bassett marking the beginning of construction.
Lily Pad RV Park and Campground, which will be located at 319 TB Stanley Highway, is scheduled to open in 2020.
Local real estate investor, Jesse Cahill, is investing $3 million to create the RV park and campground.
Cahill estimates that he will employ 12 full-time employees during the first year.
The RV park will offer pads for recreational vehicles and tent camping as well as amenities to complement a camper’s stay.
Built-in phases, the site will eventually offer 191 spaces for RVs and 50 for tents.
The RV pads will be a mix of both concrete pads and pull-throughs and will include water, sewer, and electrical hook-ups.
Additionally, the park will include a bathhouse, kayak and canoe rentals, walking trails and more.
An on-site convenience store will offer camping supplies and basic equipment, as well as a short-order grill.
Future plans also include a large meeting space.
The majority of the park will be for guests only; a small portion, including the store, will be open to the general public.
The site of Lily Pad is roughly 15-18 acres, with over 60 additional acres surrounding it.
Campsites are nestled between the Smith River and a small creek, giving the park access to the water.
"Lily Pad’s proximity to the 220 Bypass, Philpott Lake, Fairystone Park, and Martinsville Speedway will make it a convenient location for hosting guests passing through our area or visiting other tourist attractions in Martinsville and Henry County," the press release stated.
Guests may also be drawn in by the history of the site.
According to historical records, the park will sit on a portion of land that is believed to be part of a chain of forts built in the mid 1700s during the French and Indian War.
Fort Trial, also known as Hickey’s Fort, was built in this strategic location to protect British settlers during that period.
George Washington even visited Fort Trial in 1756.
An adjacent field that will be developed later was known as the Great Indian Fields.
Over the course of years, artifacts have been found on the land and may still be present.
Guests will have the opportunity to explore and dig for relics during their stay.
The first 122 RV pads and 40 tent pads are scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2020.