RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL) – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Tuesday announced that 18 communities across the Commonwealth will receive $278,000 in grants to accelerate the economic revitalization of their downtown districts as part of Virginia’s COVID-19 economic recovery strategy.
Nine Downtown Investment Grants were awarded to the Designated Main Street towns. In Southwest Virginia, St. Paul was one of them.
The rest include Culpeper, Luray, South Boston, and Wytheville, and the cities of Danville, Franklin, Fredericksburg, and Lynchburg.
Nine Commercial District Affiliate grants were awarded to the Southwest Virginian towns of Honaker and Tazewell.
Other towns that received the grant include Bedford, Cape Charles, Colonial Beach, and Onancock and the cities of Buena Vista, Covington, and Martinsville.
“Downtown districts are the lifeblood of our communities and our local economies, and they need our support now more than ever,” said Governor Northam. “Main Street communities across the Commonwealth have been greatly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and these grants will provide critical assistance to help small businesses stay afloat and advance Virginia’s economic recovery.”
Virginia Main Street grants are administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development and help to re-energize development of downtown communities, while utilizing their cultural assets and character.
According to a press release, funding can go toward implementing innovative strategies, plans, and programs, capacity building, or design projects that help stimulate increased private investment. This is further accomplished by pooling the resources of local civic and business leaders who are working to bring their Main Street communities back to life. The Virginia Main Street program is comprised of 26 designated communities and more than 90 Commercial District Affiliates throughout Virginia.
“In the last five years, designated Main Street communities have sparked more than $413 million in private investment across Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Encouraging private investment and economic growth is the key to building vibrant communities across the Commonwealth during this pandemic and beyond.”
The Downtown Investment Grants can be used for design and economic vitality projects in historic downtown neighborhoods located in designated Virginia Main Street communities. The Commercial District Affiliate grants go toward projects in historic commercial neighborhoods located in more than 90 Virginia Main Street affiliate communities. Projects include downtown revitalization, market studies, downtown marketing campaigns, way-finding signage, streetscape improvements, and town murals.
Several projects will support COVID-19 recovery efforts in the towns of Culpeper, South Boston, and St. Paul, as well as the cities of Covington, and Martinsville. Recovery projects include micro-marketing grants, advertising campaigns, promotional videos, support services, education, training, and low-interest loans for small businesses, the release said.
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Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.