hazel20160120

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Beach denied grant

Despite Governor McDonnell announcing more than $6.8 million in Community Development Block Grant funding, Colonial Beach’s application was denied for the second year in a row.

But the last two years of planning have left a significant number of volunteers determined to move forward anyway.

In a first step to independence, Glenda Chiarello has volunteered to take the lead. In an email to the group she said, “I would gladly be willing to volunteer to chair our group temporarily, until we are able to create a more formalized team and select leadership.”

Even before receiving word that the town did not receive the grant, the group was taking steps to work on the sidelines through the Virginia Main Street Program affiliate program.

The group met on June 10 with Jerry Davis, Executive Director of the Northern Neck Planning District Commission, and Brad Belo, Community Revitalization Specialist and Program Administrator with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Chiarello reported that the purpose of the meeting was to explore the town’s options and to gather information related to the organization of the team as they move forward.

“Colonial Beach is already an Affiliate Main Street Organization, but we feel the need to better centralize and organize our efforts. In the coming months, we will be exploring the benefits of forming a board and recruiting committees to help meet our goals and objectives for the revitalization area. Brad Belo has offered his expertise and assistance in this effort,” Chiarello said. The group plans to concentrate more effort on the Affiliate Program and ways to resubmit the application for next year’s grant without the cost burden of a consultant group.

Although the first meeting since the denial has not been set, many members have been actively exchanging email communications, and interest in furthering revitalization in the town has not diminished.

Linda Farneth

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