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Project FAITH gets extension for HELP Center

King George Supervisors last week approved an extension request by Froncé Wardlaw on behalf of Project FAITH’s proposed HELP Center on a split vote, 3-2.  

At last week’s meeting on Feb. 19, Cedell Brooks, Ruby Brabo and John LoBuglio voted in favor of granting an extension for commencement of construction to Aug. 1, with Chairman Dale Sisson and Joe Grzeika voting against any extension.

Grzeika said, “I will not be supporting this motion, I still think this is project is one better suited for the private commercial side and not a public-funded project.”

Sisson said, “I will not be supporting it, for my stated concerns relative to the ability-to-execute reasons I stated at the last board meeting. And we’re in the same position tonight that we were then.”

A similar split vote took place on May 1, 2012, when the Supervisors first voted for the land give-away. That’s when 5.53 acres in the county’s new government center fronting on Route 3 (Kings Hwy) was given to Project FAITH. The location is east of Purkins Corner and east of the King George YMCA, also on the north side of Route 3, across from the new Sheriff’s office building.

AUGUST 1 OR 31?
But there is a question. Right now, it’s unclear whether the extension is Aug. 1 or Aug. 31 for the new deadline, since the actual amendments to the performance agreement and the deed that were provided at the meeting provided the later date of Aug. 31.

But when Wardlaw came before the board on Feb. 5, she asked for the contract extension to be pushed because she could not meet a contract deadline to have footings poured by Feb. 28. Both her written request and her oral presentation to Supervisors earlier this month asked for an extension to Aug. 1.

It would be expected that if the documents have not yet been executed that the motion would prevail, with the draft documents in the packet being deemed to be incorrect due to a clerical error. The same mistake appears on the one-page staff report in the meeting packet, with both Aug. 1 and Aug. 31 stated as the date desired for the new deadline.

However it turns out, there are three members of the Board of Supervisors who appear likely to agree to any changes or extensions that Project FAITH desires at this time or in the future.

New county attorney Eric Gregory had prepared the documents and presented them at the meeting. He said that the only change would be the date for commencement of construction, adding, “All the other provisions of those instruments remain in effect and enforceable. That would include the project deadline.”

The actual completion date for construction of the facility is still set at Aug. 1, 2014.

DESIGNATED TENANTS
Prior to the vote, Gregory also touched on another matter regarding the specific tenants intended to be housed in the planned HELP Center, and as designated in the original performance agreement executed last June.

Gregory said that the Health Department had opted for a different location and had recently entered into a long-term lease for some other space. The performance agreement suggests that 4,000 square feet be set aside for those offices, if required by them.

Gregory stated, “Now that they have opted for another location, it might behoove the Board and Project FAITH to obtain letters of intent from the other prospective tenants of this facility to just provide some certainty that those other tenants will indeed follow through on taking residence in this facility.”
Again, the majority appeared reluctant to require that step.

Brabo asked, “Is that typical to request those letters of intent in advance?” Gregory responded, “It is often typical in such transactions. It’s not required, but it would be prudent and advisable.”

He added, “What I would suggest is the board, if it so desires, to request that Project FAITH obtain those letters of intent from the prospective tenants and present them to the Board, preferably as soon as possible.”
Brooks inquired, “Did the counsel for Project FAITH have any problem with that?” Gregory said he’d made the suggestion and didn’t get a response either way. Grzeika asked, “Wouldn’t they have to do that for any financing?” Gregory agreed.

But Brooks stated, “But so far tonight all we’ve done is extended it six months as they requested?” Gregory concurred, “That’s correct. That’s all that the instruments that are before you tonight provide for.”
Brooks capped the discussion saying, “Nothing else has changed.”

POTENTIAL TENANTS
The project is intended to be a multipurpose facility to provide community-based programs and services in the areas of health, education, learning, parenting assistance and other services to county residents of low-to-moderate incomes.

In addition to Project FAITH, other potential partners to be housed in the center include the King George Department of Social Services, King George Free Clinic, Virginia Probation & Parole District 21 - Compliance and Prison Reentry Programs, Virginia Cares – Supportive Services/ Prison Reentry Programs, Rappahannock Community College, Rappahannock Goodwill Industries, New Horizons Café, Opening Doors Learning Center, and Virginia Extension Office.

PUBLIC HEARING NEXT WEEK FOR CCBG REQUEST
Supervisors concurred to go forward with sponsoring a competitive grant application funded by the Department of Housing & Community Development for funding help for Project FAITH through the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). Such grant funding must be sought through the locality in which the planned project will be sited.  

They agreed to a public hearing to be advertised for next week’s meeting on Tuesday, March 5. At the Feb. 5 meeting, the documents listed that the funding request would be for $70,000 to go toward construction within the building for a free clinic, since CBGB funds are not eligible to be used for construction help with any local or state operated facilities. A second public hearing on the grant proposal is slated for March 19.

CLAUSE FOR REVERSION OF LAND
The county “retains the right to reclaim the property through reversion of the property and all structures, appurtenances and improvements of any kind, in the event that Company does not meet all of its obligations under this Agreement and as set forth in the Deed.”

The documents also intend that Project FAITH must own and operate the facility in perpetuity or reversion would occur. It states, “Company is solely responsible for the continued maintenance and operation of the Facility solely for its stated and intended purposes.”

If the land were to revert to the county, it appears that the county would also get the liability on the property and any improvements. At the current time, the liability appears to be $850,000 from a land loan from an unspecified source.

If the project were to fail in the future, the liability could also be higher, depending on the point in the process.

PROJECT FAITH’S PROJECTS
Project FAITH is a charitable housing organization promoting safe, affordable and accessible housing for persons with disabilities and elder individuals of low-incomes. It has built and operates three phases of Angelwood, which includes 80 multi-family dwellings. Angelwood is located on the north side of Route 3 (Kings Highway) to the east of Union First Market Bank.

Phyllis Cook

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