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SoBo project passed over for state grant funding

Funding for the Washington-Coleman Housing Project was not included in the pool of $6.8 million for 11 projects designated for Community Development Block Grant funding announced Friday by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Projects funded included those for water and sewer improvements, downtown revitalization and healthcare, but not the one the town had applied for in order to rehabilitate housing in the vicinity of the Washington-Coleman Community Center project in the Town of South Boston.

The town had applied earlier this year for up to $1 million through a Community Development Block Grant for the Washington-Coleman Housing Rehabilitation Project.

The purpose of the Community Development Block Grant was to improve housing conditions for homes occupied by low and moderate-income persons.

The proposed project area includes 27 structures (20 occupied households) located on portions of Jeffress Boulevard, College Street and Jefferson Avenue.

Project activities will include housing rehabilitation, substantial reconstruction, demolition of dilapidated structures and clean-up of debris and trash throughout the neighborhood.

Several neighboring localities had block grant funding requests approved, including $600,000 for the Town of South Hill to help fund its West Main Street Project, and $500,000 for Henry County to assist in Phase II of its South Street Neighborhood Improvement Project.

A total of $600,000 in block grant funding was approved for the City of Martinsville to assist in New College expansion.  

Town Manager Ted Daniel told council at its Monday night meeting that although the housing project has not been funded initially, there remains a chance additional monies will be released later.

Daniel said Southside Planning District Commission had alerted the town that additional funding could later become available through the Community Development Block Grant program.

Also a possibility exists, Daniel said later, that projects receiving funding could be withdrawn, with the Washington-Coleman Housing Project moving up in the “pecking order.”

“There was some initial disappointment, but there’s a ray of hope,” Daniel said after the meeting.