Monthly Archives: October 2015

Governor McAuliffe Announces $500,000 in Telecommunication Planning Grants

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced $500,000 in grants through the Virginia Telecommunication Planning Initiative (VATPI) for Albemarle, Augusta, Culpeper, New Kent, Bland and Pulaski counties and the town of Altavista. Two joint grants were also awarded to two regional projects including one for Bath and Highland counties and another for Alleghany, Botetourt and Craig counties, the city of Covington and the town of Clifton Forge. The VATPI program provides funding for communities to develop a comprehensive community-based telecommunications plan.

“Access to high-quality Internet connectivity is one of the most critical tools for communities to grow, diversify and build a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Providing adequate telecommunications in a community is essential for preparing our students and workforce, attracting businesses, improving medical services and providing a better quality of life for all Virginians.”

“Quick, reliable and affordable access to the Internet is a prerequisite for community and economic development efforts throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “The Virginia Telecommunication Planning Initiative will help localities develop the telecommunications plan necessary to prosper in the 21st century economy.”

Projects were selected through a two-phased process. Phase one was a letter of interest, and phase two was a detailed response. Twenty-two letters of interest were received, representing 43 communities. Of those 22 letters of interest, 13 applicants were selected to participate in phase II.

Funding for the grants is allocated in a three-tier system. Tier one included grants up to $75,000, tier two has grants for up to $50,000, and tier three has grants up to $35,000. The level of funding awarded is based on the telecommunication planning needs of the communities. Thirteen applications totaling more than $800,000 in funding were received.

The following projects were awarded funding through the 2015 Virginia Telecommunication Planning Initiative program:

 

Tier Level Funding Locality Award
Tier I Albemarle County $ 75,000
Tier I Augusta County $75,000
Tier I Culpeper County $75,000
Tier I New Kent County $75,000
Tier II Bland County $50,000
Tier II Alleghany, Botetourt and Craig counties, city of Covington and town of Clifton Forge* $50,000
Tier II Pulaski County $40,000
Tier III Bath and Highland counties* $30,000
Tier III Town of Altavista $30,000

*Regional project

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Weatherization Day Proclamation 2015

WHEREAS, Virginia has a long-standing commitment to conserve its energy resources and to help low-income households through the Weatherization Assistance Program; and

WHEREAS, theVirginia Department of Housing and Community Development has administered the Weatherization Assistance Program since its inception in 1976, providing a variety of state and federal resources through 19 community action agencies, housing authorities, and departments of local government that serve people in every city and county in the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, the program has produced energy cost reductions in more than 44,800 homes in Virginia, affecting thousands of people, many of whom are elderly, disabled or children; and

WHEREAS, the Weatherization Program’s local service providers consider weatherization a vital part of their overall effort to provide a cost-effective permanent solution for reducing the heavy energy burden on low-income Virginians and provide affordable and safe housing for all; and

WHEREAS, the Weatherization Program not only assists in reducing energy costs and providing efficient housing, but also contributes more broadly to the improvements and progress of communities by eliminating carbon emissions, stimulating local economies, creating jobs, and stabilizing neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, it is important to recognize the importance of these programs that ensure that all residents have the opportunity to live in energy-efficient, healthy, safe, and comfortable homes across the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, October is National Energy Awareness Month, and October 30 is designated as National Weatherization Day; and

WHEREAS, National Weatherization Day is an opportunity to focus local, state, and national attention on the benefits of weatherization and the work being performed by the dedicated members of the Weatherization Assistance Program;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize October 30, 2015, as WEATHERIZATION DAY in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

Governor McAuliffe Announces $300,000 Community Development Block Grant for Albemarle County

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for Albemarle County for the Oak Hill Sanitary Sewer Phase II project through the CDBG Construction Ready Water and Sewer Fund.  The Albemarle County project will provide new public sewer service to the Oak Hill subdivision, alleviating the reliance on aging septic systems that were built in the 1960s.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “The CDBG program has been an important tool to address infrastructure needs like water and sewer in many of our communities throughout the Commonwealth.  We must continue to invest in projects that provide critical infrastructure in order to build a new Virginia economy and make Virginia a great place to live, work and play.”

“We are committed to providing the necessary resources to our communities across Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “By combining state and local funding, we are ensuring that this community has safe and affordable water, and this will ensure a better quality of life for the residents.”

The project is expected to benefit 20 households, with 17 of those households being low- to moderate-income. The sewer service is funded under the CDBG Construction Ready Water and Sewer Fund, which provides assistance to projects providing public water or sewer service to communities made up of at least 60 percent low- to moderate-income households. Funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis from January 1 through the end of September.

“We very much appreciate the state’s support in making completion of this critical infrastructure system possible for a neighborhood in need in the County, and we look forward to continued partnership with the Governor’s Office and the Community Development Block Grant program to address future infrastructure concerns in our community,” said Jane Dittmar, chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and Virginia receives up to $17 million annually for this grant program. Most CDBG grant funds are awarded through a competitive process.

Governor Announces Southwest Virginia receives Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Implementation Grant

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that the Friends of Southwest Virginia received a $275,000 Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) implementation grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the Southwest Virginia RESOURCE-FULL project.  This project aims to accelerate regional efforts to diversify the economy of Southwest Virginia.  The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is also awarding $75,000 to the project to bring the total investment up to $350,000.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Growing the economy and creating economic opportunity in Southwest Virginia will take a regional approach that leverages every available resource. I am proud of the strides we are making bringing new investment to the region and supporting smart strategies for continued growth. This federal funding, along with the continued support of the Appalachian Regional Commission, will boost our efforts to bring the new Virginia economy to Southwest.”

RESOURCE-FULL is a consortium approach to workforce and economic development in Southwest Virginia that incorporates both traditional and innovative strategies in a holistic approach to restore economic prosperity and address the negative impacts of the decline of the coal industry on the region. POWER Implementation grants fund existing economic development plans and strategies that address one or more of the following economic benefits including local/regional economic diversification, re-employment opportunities for dislocated coal industry employees, attracting new investment for job creation and workforce development.

“Among Southwest Virginia’s biggest assets are its beautiful outdoor attractions, including rivers, mountains with beautiful vistas and countless trails,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.   “This project leverages these tourism assets for business opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses, helping to grow the economy and contribute to the great quality of life in the region.”

This project will focus on developing the burgeoning outdoor recreation cluster which diversifies the economy and supports high-quality business and worker recruitment through quality of life enhancements, as well as building local community revenue sources through tourism and entrepreneurship opportunities. The grant will also support entrepreneurial and small business development in the region. The Friends of Southwest Virginia are the lead applicant on the project and will work with various partners across the region including educational institutions, planning district commissions and others in the business and economic development community.

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded nearly $10 Million in POWER implementation and planning grants to the first round of grant recipients in 12 states and tribal nations, totaling 26 projects. The designees were selected by an interagency team for the strength of their local economic development strategies and the depth of the public-private partnerships in their communities to carry out their local plans. POWER is led by the EDA and aligns the resources of four federal agencies, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, the Small Business Administration, and ARC.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Virginia Enterprise Zone Designations

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced five new Virginia Enterprise Zone (VEZ) designations for Tazewell County, the cities of Lynchburg and Hampton, and two joint zones for city of Martinsville and Henry County, as well as Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers the VEZ program, which supports job creation and private investment by providing state and local incentives such as the Job Creation Grant (JCG) and the Real Property Investment Grant (RPIG) to qualified businesses and investors in enterprise zones.

Speaking at today’s announcement at an event in Lynchburg, Governor McAuliffe said, “The Enterprise Zone program is an important tool that will help in our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.  By providing both local and state incentives, we are creating a pro-business climate that not only attracts new businesses, but also helps our existing businesses grow.”

“The Enterprise Zone program has been extremely successful in the Commonwealth’s community development efforts,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “In the last grant year, 1,321 jobs were created and $245 million in qualified real property investments were made in communities across Virginia through this program.”

Through a competitive application process, Enterprise Zones are designated for a 10-year period followed by two performance-based five-year renewals for a total of 20 years. Thirteen applications were received for this competitive cycle, and with the five new designations, the total number of Enterprise Zones will be 46 as of January 1, 2016.

Businesses can earn up to $200,000 during a five-year period in RPIGs, and for JCGs, they can receive up to $800 per position per year over a five-year period, depending on the wages offered.  The program has supported more than $1 billion in investment and the creation of more than 40,000 jobs since 1995.

Preservation Virginia Releases Economic Impact Study of Virginia Main Street Program

Today, Preservation Virginia released a study measuring the economic impact of 30 years of the Virginia Main Street program. The report documents the Virginia Main Street program throughout the last 30 years. The report has documented the direct economic effects across Virginia Main Streets since 1985, when the program was adopted in Virginia to revitalize its historic downtowns.

“Preservation Virginia’s study highlights the impressive work the Virginia Main Street program is doing to help our communities across the commonwealth stay healthy, create jobs, grow entrepreneurs and attract visitors,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “These communities are one of the many vital assets that will help Virginia prosper in the 21st century.”

Some notable statistics from the impact study range from the number of businesses and jobs created to the amount of private investment and volunteer time. In the last 30 years, 11,908 net new jobs have been created by Virginia Main Street businesses. More than 3,365 net new businesses have been created in our Main Street districts, and these entrepreneurs are a key component to Virginia’s economic strategy. Virginia’s Main Street districts have been able to weather business cycle downturns better than the overall economy. More than $1.2 billion has been invested in Main Street districts, with 71 percent being from the private sector. Almost $2 billion in total economic impact has been generated from the Virginia Main Street districts.

“Beyond the notable numbers, the Virginia Main Street program has helped these communities embrace the cultural history, a sense of community and a wonderful quality of life that attracts visitors, residents and businesses alike,” said Bill Shelton, director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Preservation Virginia commissioned the report with funding assistance from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The report details the economic impacts of the Virginia Main Street Program, an approach to downtown revitalization that purses economic development within the context of historic preservation. The study and research includes case studies on three of the 25 Virginia Main Street communities: Culpeper, Harrisonburg and South Boston.

“In 2014, Preservation Virginia commemorated its 125th anniversary. We used this anniversary as a way to celebrate and highlight the many historic preservation efforts and accomplishments in communities across the commonwealth. We commissioned a three-part economic study by the Center Urban and Regional Analysis at Virginia Commonwealth University to measure the impact historic preservation is having in communities across Virginia.” said Elizabeth Kostelny, chief executive officer of Preservation Virginia. “The second phase of the project demonstrates the value of the Virginia Main Street program regionally and on Virginia’s overall economy.”

The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, provides assistance and training to help communities increase the economic vitality of their downtown commercial districts. Virginia Main Street uses the National Main Street model to help communities revitalize their downtowns by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes. The program helps communities implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy that creates economic growth and pride in downtowns. For more information, visit www.dhcd.virginia.gov/mainstreet.

Preservation Virginia, a private, nonprofit organization and statewide historic preservation leader founded in 1889, is dedicated to perpetuating and revitalizing Virginia’s cultural, architectural and historic heritage, thereby ensuring that historic places are integral parts of the lives of present and future generations. Learn more at www.preservationvirginia.org or call (804) 648-1889.

To view the entire report, visit http://preservationvirginia.org/preserve/economic-impact.