- Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 March 2012 19:15
- Published on Wednesday, 07 March 2012 19:15
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Montross Town Council held it’s first public hearing on Feb. 28, regarding their reapplication for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) which, if granted, could net up to $750,000 to improve the downtown area of Montross.
The town is waiting for estimates from VDOT to settle the final amount it will request from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Montross will present those figures at the continuation of the public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 12 at the town hall.
If granted, the money will be used for two types of improvements; physical changes which will focus on pedestrian safety in the downtown area and economic restructuring to benefit businesses.
Physical improvements will focus on three major pedestrian crosswalks 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 on Route 3 going through the heart of Montross. This crossing’s surface would be painted to look like brick pavers to make it more visible. Recommended by VDOT, the cross walk would include in the improvements, lights in the pavement and signal lights to alert traffic traveling both ways on Route 3 that pedestrians
are crossing. Eastbound drivers will greatly benefit since the crossing is just past the turn.
If the CDBG is awarded, the town plans to use the amount of money dedicated to physical improvements to apply for and match a Transportation Enhancement Grant offered by VDOT, the deadline for that is in the fall.
The enhancement grant would allow the town to include other physical improvements such as lighting, street furniture and landscaping sidewalks.
“It would be a good phase two to the CBDB grant,” said Jerry Davis, who gave a brief presentation on the grant.
Economic restructuring improvements would include establishing a revolving loan fund that would be made available to either start up a new business or expand an existing business.
Businesses would also be able to participate in a 50/50 matching loan for facade improvement to upgrade the look of their store fonts.
One requirement would be that a business receiving a small business loan would agree to create jobs for low to moderate income employees.
“Putting that element into this application is new this year.” said Davis
Also included in economic restructuring, is creating a town website and participating in a way-fare signage program.
Revitalization grants require a strong commitment from the community and evidence that the locality requesting the grant will in good faith continue to pursue other grants and generate funds on their own to continue to eliminate and prevent blight and disrepair in the redevelopment area.
Montross has taken steps toward proving their commitment by securing and utilizing previous grants such as a $3,000 Organization Grant and two Planning Grants totaling $35,000.
Montross has also formed a downtown organization to follow recommendations by the Virginia DHCD’s Main Street Affiliate Program.
In Main Street programs, the DHCD provides guidance and outlines to help citizens of a locality raise money to fund projects that will not only improve the appearance of the downtown area but will focus more on economy building activities, to bring more revenue to the town. Successful long-term downtown revitalization programs are based on having a lot of citizen activity and input. But the implementation is also based on volunteers, according to Jeff Sadler from the DHCD.
Town Councilman Terry Cosgrove reported that the group has sent an application for incorporation to the State Corporation Commission, drafted bylaws and established an EIN number.
Town council will meet again to hold a second public hearing at 7 p.m. on March 12 when citizens will have a chance to view and comment on the draft application. The town council will then vote to accept the application before sending it to the Virginia DHCD.