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Chase City gets $1 million for home, street rehab

SoVaNow.com / February 13, 2013
Chase City is slated to receive $1 million in federal block grant funds to build or rehabilitate 21 houses and provide road improvements along West Third Street.

The town was one of six Virginia communities to earn a total of $4 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The awards were announced Feb. 5 by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

In neighboring Lunenburg County, the Town of Victoria will receive $480,902 for a housing rehabilitation project.

Chase City Town Manager Ricky Reese said he was thrilled by the news and noted the award is a multi-year grant payable in two installments, of $600,000 and $400,000. Chase City is required to put up a matching amount of $45,000.

The Third Street project will be similar to those already completed on West Fifth Street and West Fourth Street, but on a larger scale, said Ashleigh Zincove, Senior Planner with the Southside Regional Planning District Commission. Three vacant houses will be demolished. Six owner occupied and six rental homes will receive “non-cosmetic” upgrades both inside and out. The remaining homes will be new builds.

Zincove explained that “non-cosmetic” upgrades address health and safety issues such as replacing broken windows, installing insulation and even replacing broken appliances.

Road improvements, Zincove said, include replacing or upgrading the storm drainage in the area, regrading Third Street and installing new curbs and gutters.

Before work can begin, however, B&B Engineering, consultants for the project, must draw up final plans for the improvements. Reese said he does not have a timeframe for when work may begin but expressed his desire that it be “sooner rather than later.”

State officials hailed the awards, which were split up among Chase City, Victoria and the counties of James City, Pulaski and Bath.

“The Community Development Block Grant program is a multi-faceted program that has led to many successful projects across the Commonwealth,” said Governor McDonnell. “Programs like this improve our communities and raise the quality of life for Virginians.”

Since 1982, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) have administered the federally funded CDBG program, and Virginia receives up to $16.5 million annually for this grant program. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process. Most projects benefit low- and moderate-income persons.

During this year’s competitive cycle, 24 proposals were submitted by 25 localities, and nine projects received the initial funding. The Virginia Community Development Block Grant Program guideline specifies that funding which has not been obligated or which has been returned from closed projects or cost under-runs by December is to be committed to proposals which did not initially receive funding in that year.

“The Community Development Block Grant program has always been an important program in assisting communities across Virginia, whether with housing rehabilitation, downtown revitalization, post-natural disaster assistance and more,” said DHCD Director Bill Shelton.

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