Town looks toward planning for grant funds

EDINBURG – The town of Edinburg will soon take the next steps in planning out use of a grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

The grant will provide the town with up to $35,000 for promoting economic growth, so long as the Town Council meets requirements for establishing a management team and conducting meetings and public hearings. The town received $5,000 of the total sum in May for planning purposes, and buildings were examined — many of them vacant – in the town’s central business district.

A public meeting with the department’s Community Development Specialist will take place at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 5. Mayor Dan Harshman said at a Tuesday’s Town Council meeting that the established management team will try getting in contact with property owners involved so that they can take part in the meeting and learn about advantages to them. Within a week of that meeting, the town will need to submit its work plan to the department.

“The hardest part is to get those people that could benefit to the table, get them to at least show up,” he said. “I don’t know how you can force them to do that, but hopefully we’ll be able to give them enough incentive.”

Harshman read out most of the reports at the meeting, noting current developments and future plans.

Because of impending new and more stringent laws for underground fuel storage tanks, he suggested switching the 30-year-old underground tank at the wastewater treatment plant to an above-ground tank in the future.

He then established that the sinkhole on Route 11 that occurred last month was due to a leaky sewer line that town officials weren’t even aware of. Because of that, he suggested the town investigate any similar occurrences themselves before calling the Virginia Department of Transportation for assistance.

Later, he affirmed that the town had given Theatre Shenandoah $2,500 to assist in bat cleanup and roof repairs. Although he said the written agreement with the nonprofit states that the group would be responsible for maintenance, he said it was in the town’s best interest to preserve the building.

“The people that are coming to talk to us about this understand that that was the agreement we have with them,” he said after the meeting. “Probably the only reason the council does step up is because of the fact that it is a town building and we don’t want to see the town building fall apart.”

The town will look into replacing its salt spreader with a new one from Shade Equipment Company for $8,300. After verifying the council could afford to purchase it, Vice Mayor Steven Wood made a motion to pursue the replacement and all in attendance approved it unanimously.

“I don’t think we’re going to make it through the year without doing it, this time,” Harshman said.

During his report, Harshman also showed council members a Christmas ornament he created for submission to Virginia Municipal League’s 2015 Holiday Tree to represent the town.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com