- Last Updated on Thursday, 21 June 2012 11:11
- Published on Thursday, 21 June 2012 11:11
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On June 19 Governor Bob McDonnell announced that more than $6.2 million was awarded in community Development Block Grant funding. Montross will received $530,000 to revitalize its downtown area.
This was the second try for the small town with a population of roughly 350 people.
This will bring a great boost to the economy of the town which serves as Westmoreland's county seat. Surrounded by famous parks and presidential birthplaces, Montross has only one well known historical landmark within the town limits, the old Westmoreland Court House.
According to a historic marker, the courthouse was the site of notable events connected with the Revolutionary War, including the passing of a resolution was introduced in June of 1774 by Richard Henry Lee providing aid to Boston, following a blockade of that beleaguered port city by Great Britain.
The seizure in 1775 of the Virginia Colony's gunpowder supply in Williamsburg on orders of the Royal Governor, in what became known as the Gunpowder Incident, prompted the Westmoreland Committee of Safety to convene at the Court House on May 23, 1775. The committee passed a resolution denouncing the governor, Lord Dunmore, for his actions.
Montross has many other notable historic buildings and the grant will greatly benefit their promotion as tourist attractions.
The money will be used for two types of improvements, physical - which will focus on pedestrian safety in the down town area and economic - restructuring to benefit businesses.
Physical improvements will focus on three major pedestrian cross walks over Route 3 in the downtown area of Montross; in front of the Museum, the Post office and the crossing from Angelo's towards the Carrot Cottage property.
The third location is just east of a sharp curve in State Route 3 going through the heart of Montross. This crossings surface will be painted to look like brick pavers to make it more visible. Recommended by VDOT the cross walk will include lights in the pavement and signal lights to alert traffic traveling both ways on Route 3 that pedestrians are crossing. East bound drivers will greatly benefit since the crossing is just past the turn.
The town plans to use the amount of money dedicated to physical improvements to apply for and match a Transportation Enhancement Grant offered by The Virginia Department of Transportation. The deadline for VDOT program is in the fall.
The enhancement grant would allow the town to include other physical improvements such as lighting, street furniture and landscaping on sidewalks.
Economic Restructuring improvements will include establishing a revolving loan fund that will be made available to either start up a new business or expand an existing business.
Businesses will also be able to participate in a 50/50 matching loan facade improvement to upgrade the look of their store fonts.
One requirement will be that a business receiving a small business loan would agree to create jobs for low to moderate income employees.
Also included in economic restructuring is creating a town website and participating in a way-fare signage program.
According to a press release from the office of Governor McDonnell, projects include downtown and economic revitalization, healthcare, improved housing and water service
Eight other grants were awarded to the town of Appalachia, Buchanan County, Shenandoah County, the town of Tazwell, the town of Vinton, Washington County, the City of Galax and the town of Keysville for a total of $6,236,050
“The Community Development Block Grant program is a long-standing, competitive program that improves the lives of Virginians,” said Governor McDonnell. “These grants truly help improve communities across the Commonwealth, whether it is through revitalization to a business district, improved water systems, housing rehabilitation or providing healthcare.”
Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and Virginia receives up to $16 million annually for this “small cities” grant program. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process. Most projects benefit low- and moderate-income persons, and many projects are targeted for the prevention or elimination of slums and blighting conditions.
Two projects are noted as multi-year funding projects. Multi-year projects are those that will receive a contract allocating a portion of the funds this year and, after achieving specific performance targets, will then be eligible for additional funding.
“With a number of significant proposals submitted this year, it was a very competitive cycle for the CDBG program,” said DHCD Director Bill Shelton. “Our resources are utilized to maximize assistance to our citizens and communities throughout Virginia.”