Strasburg receives revitalization funding

The town of Strasburg has received $700,000 in grant funding from Virginia for ongoing downtown revitalization projects.

Strasburg is one of 12 localities to have received funding through the state’s 2015 Community Development Block Grant Program, which is aimed at localities seeking to revitalize downtowns and housing developments.

Town Manager Ryan Spitzer said, “Getting the grant for downtown revitalization is a big project for the town. It’ll help the town moving forward.”

The program has been run through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development since 1982, and funds $17 million in projects each year.

The state announced that more $8.2 million in total funding was granted to the 12 localities altogether.

Spitzer said the town has to meet with representatives from the department in a “pre-scoping meeting” to workout what milestones the town must complete.

Setting a meeting time, Spitzer said, is up to the department. He added that no conversations between the town and the state have yet taken place.

However, the town will be looking to apply the funding to several downtown revitalization projects — including the former Brill grocery building, façade improvements for businesses and parking lot improvements.

“It’s a reimbursement-type program,” Spitzer said. “The town would front the bill and the state has 30 days to repay us for the work that … we have both agreed upon.”

Spitzer said, “We can’t ask for any of this money until after that scoping meeting with [the department].”

The town will have a two-year time frame to work with the money the state has awarded. The entire grant has to be used before the two years expire.

There is some flexibility with the grant in that the town can ask to add projects to its scope or its budget, Spitzer noted.

“It’s got to be approved by [the department] before any money can be spent,” he said.

Council gave then-Town Manager Kimberly Murray the go-ahead to apply for this grant back in January.

There were 22 proposals submitted by 21 Virginia localities for the funding this year.

“The grant is really hard to receive, especially on our first application … receiving it on the first time though is really big for the town,” Spitzer said.

Spitzer said, “Anytime you can rehab old buildings, and bring more life into downtown, that will be good for the businesses that are already there.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com