ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday that Abingdon would be one of four localities in the Commonwealth to receive funding for a project – to the tune of $5 million.

Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) grants were awarded to one city and three towns in Virginia, totaling $8,250,000. Abingdon’s grant made up more than half of that total.

IRF grants aim to help in the construction of projects that help economically develop their regions.

A spokesperson for the Town of Abingdon confirmed that the $5 million grant would go toward the United Way of Southwest Virginia’s project to convert the former Kmart building into a workforce development and childcare center.

“These remarkable projects are breathing new life into dilapidated structures that have hindered our economic progress, transforming them into vibrant small businesses and symbols of community pride,” Youngkin said in a release. “By harnessing the power of IRF grants, we are making strategic investments in the infrastructure, economy and vibrancy of Virginia and showcasing why Virginia is the place to live, work and do business.”

The United Way announced in May its plans to transform the 87,000-square-foot property to assist in job training (particularly for teachers) and provide childcare services for parents.

According to Abingdon Town Manager Mike Cochran, the grant will help the project come to fruition and benefit the town’s economic growth.

“The Town of Abingdon is very pleased to have received the $5 million grant that will be able to help revitalize a vacant shopping center,” Cochran said in a statement. “The grant will be used to help provide essential services to the region as well as serve as a regional headquarters for United Way. The services they will provide include workforce development and childcare-related activities. This grant will have an impact for generations to come, and we are quite pleased to be part of helping make it happen.”

Abingdon Mayor Amanda Pillion described the plans for the center as a “transformative project for our town and the entire region” in a statement to News Channel 11.

Virginia state Sen. Todd Pillion provided the following statement on the project:

“The Commonwealth of Virginia realizes the potential in this project and the positive impact it will have on families, employers, and economic development efforts in the region. This was a very competitive funding process and, given our success in securing a $3.5 million investment from the General Assembly last year, I was proud to support this additional request to ensure this project reaches its full potential. Governor Youngkin’s approval of this $5 million grant will help us deliver on our collective promise to increase childcare capacity in Southwest Virginia while strengthening our workforce and economy.”

Virginia State Senator Todd Pillion