- Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 10:30
- Published on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 10:30
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Montross Town Council has taken steps to resolve issues that have held up the execution of the contract between the town and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (VDHCD) allowing the town to start work on revitalization efforts.
Until the contract is signed, the town can not began work or utilize the $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) awarded by the VDHCD.
The holdup came when an old historical survey surfaced, delaying the Town of Montross from signing the contract for almost four months.
In 2001, Westmoreland County performed a survey of architectural resources for the Department of Historic Resources to help both Colonial Beach and Kinsale pursue a historical designation. These two localities could not be surveyed separately, but as part of a county wide survey.
Although Montross does not have a historical district, the survey uncovered buildings that could qualify for historical significance. Through the study the Department of Historic Resources determined that the downtown district had the potential for becoming a historical district.
Northern Neck District Planning Commissioner Jerry Davis explained how the survey was instrumental in delaying the contract.
Davis said that none of the buildings discussed in the survey are on the historic register. The one building the Department of Historic Resources were really focused on was the old bank building and old town hall that has been torn down.
Davis explained that although this property is gone, two others were mentioned as potential historical buildings; The Inn at Montross and the Museum. The Museum previously has submitted an application for historical status but was turned down.
“Those individual properties, and the study, prompted us to feel there was justification to enter into the programmatic agreement,” Davis said.
A programmatic agreement between the Town of Montross and the Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, would ensure that individuals utilizing CDBG funds would not alter any historical buildings in any way that would remove its historical significance or features.
At the March Montross Town Council Meeting the programmatic agreement was adopted by council, and Mayor David O’Dell was authorized to sign the agreement.
Before signing the agreement, however, Mayor O’Dell and other members clarified that private business owners using their own money would not be restricted by this contract.
Both Councilman Terry Cosgrove and Town Manager Brenda Reamy, active members of the Montross Revitalization Management Team, assured the council that these conditions only apply to businesses that are using money from the Revitalization Grant to upgrade.
Federal law prohibits federal funds be used in any project that would alter any historical buildings in any way that would remove its historical significance or features.
O’Dell signed the agreement at the meeting and delivered it to Davis, who was in attendance, to forward to the Historic Preservation Office and the VDHCD.
The council also authorized the mayor to sign the Grant Agreement Contract at the March meeting to avoid any further delays when VDHCD is ready to execute the contract.
The council appointed the following citizens to serve on the Facade Committee; Tony Nelson, Brenda Reamy, Bonnie Chandler, Pam Fawver and Larry Wheaton.
The council also appointed the following citizens to serve on the Revolving Loan Fund Committee; Leonard Carlson, Pat King, Jennifer Dixon, Brenda Reamy and Terry Cosgrove
Cosgrove requested that Larry Wheaton serve on the Facade Improvement Committee. Cosgrove owns the Art of Coffee in Montross and said he would probably be applying for the facade program. The committee can not use any members who utilize the programs.