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Rehab work extends outward

SoVaNow.com / December 26, 2013




The revitalization of the old Washington-Coleman school —repurposed this year to serve as a community center — is spreading into the surrounding neighborhood.

The Town of South Boston has been awarded $600,000 in federal grant funds to start work on the Washington-Coleman neighborhood revitalization project, which will bring improvements to 14 single family dwellings in the vicinity of the new Washington-Coleman Education and Community Center.

The grant also will allow the Town to tear down four houses that have been earmarked as blighted structures.

South Boston sought the funding last year by applying to the Virginia Department of Community Housing, which administers the community development grant program. The Town was among the seven Virginia localities to receive funding in the latest round of Community Development Block Grant awards, announced last week.

So when Town Manager Ted Daniel got the message last week that the Town would receive funds for the multi-year project, he was delighted. Daniel pointed out that by improving housing conditions in the historic residential neighborhoods surrounding the Washington-Coleman Community Center, the appeal of living there will be greatly enhanced.

Daniel said a committee was formed last year to work on the project. He added that the Southside Outreach group, under the leadership of Earl Howerton, will serve as the rehab specialists for the neighborhood.

Daniel said these types of neighborhood rehabilitation projects typically take about 18 months to complete. This project is similar to one the Town completed in 2010, in the Church Hill neighborhood. He said he expects the committee that worked on the application last year will be come together in the hope of actually starting work in early spring.

In announcing the grant awards last week, Gov. Bob McDonnell hailed the CDBG program for helping to improve communities and raise the quality of life for Virginia residents. “The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides funding for localities to address numerous issues,” said McDonnell. “These projects focus on improving the lives of thousands of Virginians and utilizing all available resources to better our communities throughout Virginia.”

Other award recipients were Chase City which received a $535,132 grant for its Washington Street renewal project to rehabilitate 20 homes and perform storm drainage repairs and street upgrades.

Also receiving CDBG grants were Matthews County, which received $666,696 for its Matthews Court House Business District Revitalization project; the Town of Wytheville, which received $700,000 for its downtown Wytheville business district revitalization; the City of Emporia, which received $719,596 for its Belfield Business District Revitalization project; Rockbridge County, which received $288,936 for its Greenhouse Village Housing Production project; and the Town of Blackstone, which received $600,000 in multi-year funding for phase II of its Church Street project.

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.





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