Sat12102016

Last updateFri, 09 Dec 2016 7pm

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Stratford Hall program to highlight Virginia's enslaved cooks

Historic Stratford Hall, the Westmoreland County plantation that was home to the Lee family of Virgi...

St. James Episcopal Church in Montross holds homecoming

The Rev. Alan Hooker and the congregation of St. James Episcopal Church in Montross  welcomed f...

W&L Senior Night

Thirty seniors and their families attended the annual Washington & Lee High School senior night ...

Rain fails to dampen spirits at Montross Fall Festival

After receiving a midweek weather forecast that indicated clearing for the weekend, organizers of th...

W&L graduate sends inspiring letter from Iraq

A U.S. Army soldier serving in Iraq sent an inspiring letter last week to Washington & Lee High ...

Westmoreland artist shows rock ‘n’ roll art at General's Ridge Vineyard

Popular Westmoreland County artist Phil McKenney was featured at General's Ridge Vineyard over the w...

 The Agency 1x3 class display 20161123

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Montross getting ready to Revitalize

The Town of Montross may begin using the $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) awarded to it from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (VDHCD) for revitalization efforts, as soon as the Grant Agreement is signed.
Despite two major setbacks that caused a cancellation of the April meeting, the progress of Montross Revitalization is still moving forward.

This month, the Montross Revitalization Group decided to cancel its April meeting because the Programmatic Agreement had not been signed by the Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, and the group’s Department of Housing and Community Development Representative, Kyle Meyer, was leaving the DHCD for another job opportunity.

Meyer’s last day was scheduled for April 26. He personally notified all the members in the group by telling them that he was leaving his position as Community Development Specialist with the VDHCD to begin a new career.

Meyer said, “I have enjoyed working at DHCD, and I sincerely appreciate having had the opportunity to work with such driven communities. I am certainly better for the experience.”

At the April Town Council Meeting, Town Manager Brenda Reamy confirmed that the Programmatic Agreement had been signed by the Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, and was now in the hands of the VDHCD.

The Montross Town Council has already voted to approve Mayor David O’Dell’s signature on the VDHCD Grant Application when it arrives.

The need for a Programmatic Agreement came up when an old countywide survey of architectural resources (performed in 2001 to benefit Colonial Beach and Kinsale) was discovered, leading to a snag that delayed the progress.

Jerry Davis, Northern Neck District Planning Commissioner, explained that the survey talked about a number of properties in the Montross downtown area, but the one specific recommendation that came out of the study was that the downtown district had the potential for becoming a historical district.

Federal law prohibits federal funding to be used for any purpose that may contribute to either the destruction of historical resources, or significantly changing them in a way that would destroy or alter their historical character.

Although none of the buildings are on the historic register, the one building they were really focused on was the old bank building/town hall, which have been torn down, according to Davis.

The solution to the problem is a Programmatic Agreement between the Town of Montross and the Virginia State Historic Preservation Office. The agreement provides steps for individuals utilizing CDBG funds to follow. These steps will ensure that any historical buildings or properties are not altered in a way that would remove their historical significance or features.

Besides age, there are other factors that contribute to a building’s or a property’s historical significance. Architectural features, building materials, or a connection to local history are some of the more common reasons that a building is designated as historical.

It is important to note that since Montross does not currently have a historical designation, and one is not anticipated at this time, an individual business owner is not restricted from architectural changes, provided no federal funds are used for the revitalization.

Linda Farneth

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