The Fieldale Heritage Revitalization Project received a substantial funding boost last week. It was among 10 projects across Virginia to share in the more than $11.5 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
Lee Clark, director of Planning, Zoning and Inspections, said the county applied for the funds through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) on behalf of the Fieldale group, which owns the property.
The county will oversee the funds on behalf of the group.
“DHCD generally awards the funds to the locality and have the locality be responsible for the use of those funds on the project,” he said.
Clark said the county will be responsible for hiring the architectural firm to create the design and overseeing the construction of the project.
“We oversee all of that process, and take care of that process,” he said.
A committee that includes members of the Fieldale Heritage Board, county staff, and member of the Henry County Board of Supervisors which represents Fieldale, will be created, and “along with the help of DHCD that will be very much involved in helping to guide the progress,” he said.
Clark said the county was also awarded a $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant to further enhance the project.
Clark said the county procured an architectural and engineering (A&E) firm to start the design work on the Fieldale building.
“We’ve just been holding off in having them get started until we knew whether if we would be awarded this grant from DHCD. Even prior to that we were awarded a planning grant where we used a consultant to perform a study on behalf of the Fieldale Heritage group to determine what some of the best uses of that building could potentially be,” he said.
The project in Henry County is slated to receive $1 million in funding from CDBG to rehabilitate an underutilized historic building into a community center that will serve an area in which 58 percent of residents classify as low- to moderate-income persons. The rehabilitated facility will offer programming and services to help families through outdoor recreation, swimming lessons, gym facilities, senior programming and internet access, and it will be the only such facility in the county, according to a release from Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who announced the awards last week.
“Community Development Block Grants continue to be an invaluable resource for Virginia communities, offering targeted support to community-identified needs and fostering support for our most vulnerable Virginians,” said Youngkin. “With these grants, we can make important investments in infrastructure, housing rehabilitation and economic development that will build stronger communities for all across the Commonwealth.”
The federally funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development since 1982 and annually receives approximately $19 million to distribute to small cities, counties, and towns. Most CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process with a goal of benefiting low- and moderate-income households.
Localities can use the funds to provide infrastructure for new or expanding industries, new or improved water and sewer systems in rural areas, rehabilitate housing in declining neighborhoods, revitalize commercial districts, support to small businesses and provide facilities for a variety of needed services, such as health clinics.