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Project FAITH plans community center

King George Director of Economic Development Nicole Thompson last week provided more details to the Board of Supervisors on a project being planned by Project FAITH, Inc., to develop and construct a community HELP Center.
“HELP” is an acronym for Health, Higher Education, Learning, Parenting assistance center.
Thompson pointed out to supervisors that the community center will provide comprehensive wrap-around services to families with low-to-moderate incomes.
The HELP Center will be a large office complex, planned to contain 40,000+ square feet.
Its conceptual design plan notes that the building will “combine social, economic and environmental sustainability in a visually appealing community service center with convenient public access and ample preserved green space.”

MULTIPLE SERVICE PROVIDERS
The health and human services are planned to include workforce training and childcare along with an accredited early-learning center.
It is also expected to contain a USDA-approved commercial kitchen and a multi-purpose room.
Tenants currently interested in moving into the space include the Department of Social Services, Rappahannock Community College, Rappahannock Goodwill Industries Self Help Center, King George Free Clinic, Virginia Probation and Parole, along with additional health and human services offices and Project FAITH offices.
Project FAITH Executive Director Froncé Wardlaw told The Journal, “This has never been done in all the Commonwealth of Virginia and it will be here in King George County.”
The conceptual design notes, “The interconnected community facilities are situated on a pedestrian oriented setting and provide citizens with a ‘one stop’ center to access needed community services. The project will be designed and built to meet LEED standards, and the King George HELP Center will serve as a vital part of the King George County community.”
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of a building towards sustainable design.
The building itself will have an outdoor focus, with a courtyard in the center and covered walkways between the various service providers and other offices.
The King George HELP Center will be constructed on 7.5 acres sited in the Courthouse area of the county with access from Route 3, very near to the existing Project FAITH housing development for persons with disabilities and elder individuals with low income.
It will be located immediately east of The Journal Complex and will share the existing entrance.
The Journal building already houses several medical service providers, including a dentist, and Community Dental, a Medicaid service provider.
It also houses a chiropractor and podiatrist, in addition to the newspaper and other offices, which includes a jewelry repair service.
Gateway Urgent Care Center, which opened a year ago, is to the rear of The Journal office building. In addition to the Urgent Care Center, that building also contains a family medical practice, a pediatrics center, a counseling center, and a hearing aid specialist, in addition to King George Little League.

PUBLIC HEARING MARCH 16    
Thompson told the board the HELP Center proposal will be the subject at a public hearing next week on March 16.  
That hearing will take place at the meeting of the Board of Supervisors to take comment on a request for federal funding through the Community Development Block Grant Program.
Thompson said $690,000 is being requested to construct 400 feet of roadway built to state maintenance standards, water and sewer and supportive infrastructure, double 5-foot sidewalks along existing roads and lining the new roadway, construction of a storm water retention pond and expansion of the existing pond, and site excavation and debris clearing.
In addition, Thompson said community forums on the project are scheduled for March 17 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.  
Project FAITH is a not-for-profit charitable organization with a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt designation.  It is a Community Development Housing Corporation certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Project FAITH uses property for charitable and benevolent purposes by providing affordable housing to Facilitate Access to Independent Housing for persons with disabilities and elder individuals with low incomes, which is considered a highly beneficial service to the citizens of King George, thereby making its projects eligible for federal community grant funding.
To further its goals, in 2004, Project FAITH was awarded $2.68 million in federal tax credits over 10 years. At that time it partnered with the Virginia Community Development Corporation (VCDC) as the syndicator of its tax credit allocation.  
The Board of Supervisors originally provided its formal go-ahead for Project FAITH’s Angelwood housing development in August 2005.  
Community Development Block Grant funding must be sought through the locality in which the planned project will be sited.  
The county acts as the conduit for the application for federal funds, funneled through the state, and also has responsibility for administrative oversight and expenditure of the grant funding.  
The Angelwood development, on  Route 3 was the first in the greater Fredericksburg area to provide an affordable independent living facility for persons with disabilities and elderly with low income.
Angelwood has two phases completed and is also readying plans for construction of Phase III.

Phyllis Cook
Staff Reporter

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