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Town to pitch in with Fairmont renovations

South Boston Town Council is making good on its commitment to provide $50,000 in support of a project by Southside Outreach Group to acquire and rehabilitate the Fairmont Apartments as Miller Homes at Poplar Creek.

Council, after some deliberation during its Monday meeting, approved the loan in grant form. 

The town has $50,000 budgeted in economic development, low-income housing initiative money in the current year budget specifically set aside for this project, Town Manager Ted Daniel told council.

Daniel told council Southside Outreach Group is completing financing actions to purchase the Fairmont Apartments on Poplar Creek Street and totally renovate the low-income housing facility.

The town’s commitment of $50,000 in project funding provided some critical points award to insure the project was selected for tax credits, according to the town manager, adding Southside Outreach will close on its $720,000 loan with Virginia Community Capital in late July or August. 

The total cost of the project is estimated at approximately $3 million, with construction slated to begin in August and ending in the fall of 2015, Daniel explained.

Southside Outreach already has incurred approximately $50,000 in project costs, according to Executive Director Earl Howerton, not including accrued interest on the pre-development loan estimated to be at least $2,000.

Council expressed support for the project as a whole and Howerton’s efforts in particular in providing affordable housing for Southside Outreach Homeowners Program participants awaiting their opportunity to become first-time homeowners.


Duke update

Davis Montgomery, district manager of Duke Energy, Carolinas, gave a brief update Monday on coal ash cleanup operations and restoration in the Dan River, including affected portions in Halifax County.

Dredging, which began May 12, has been hampered by wet weather and is projected to be complete sometime in July, Montgomery told council.

Dredging operations have to strike a balance between cleanup and stirring sediment already present in the river, he explained.

Percentages of coal ash taken in samples from the Dan River near South Boston range from 1 percent to 3 percent, the difference due to river flow and other anomalies at various locations, he told council.


Citizen comment

Irish Street resident Grant Merrill approached council Monday with ideas for entrepreneurial business development in South Boston, including employing a “competition primarily for those who have an idea for an invention, but aren’t sure how to start producing their invention.”

Round one of the competition will focus on presenting ideas to a select committee comprised of businessmen, lawyers, engineers, manufacturing leaders, bankers and investors.

Round two would involve assistance from engineering students at the higher education center with drawings and concepts, and round three would involve input from business and visual arts students at the higher education center.

Round three relates to advertising and a business plan presented to town council for its selection of a winner. 

“It is specific for manufacturing opportunities via innovation and invention,” said Merrill, with the winner keeping his manufacturing in the South Boston area and as thanks for the assistance gained will pledge a certain percentage of the profits for a defined time to be used in town revitalization efforts.”