Edinburg to wait another year for transformative grant application

EDINBURG – Following their unsuccessful bid for a community development block grant last year, the Town Council decided Tuesday not to reapply in March but rather to wait another full calendar year to make a stronger application.

During the discussion leading up to the decision, Mayor Dan Harshman expressed his worries about resubmitting next month.

“I do have concerns that if we move forward, and we aren’t successful again, then we’re going to lose whatever momentum we have,” he said. “I hate to wait two years, but it could be that this will morph into a little bit more of a project than what we proposed on this first application.”

In the original grant application, the town sought funds to construct 8,000 feet of sidewalk, improve building facades, create a mural of historic Edinburg on a concrete wall on Stony Creek Boulevard and build wayfinding signs that highlight destinations in the town.

The problem with the application, Harshman said, was that the geographic area designated for these improvements looked wonky on a map, and state officials recommended that the project be completed in two phases.

“I tried to explain to them that while it looks like it’s a rather spread-out area on a map, it’s really not a very big area,” Harshman said, pointing out that the buildings that ignited discussions about the block grant in the first place would be relegated to phase two under the state’s recommendations.

Even without the block grant funding, the council decided to move forward with the wayfinding signs to further increase the town’s branding.

Harshman also mentioned Tuesday that Sprint and Shentel wanted to partner with the town to host a “Summer Movie Night” in Madison District Park on June 2. The companies would bring in an 11-foot outdoor screen and a popcorn machine.

The town would be under no financial obligation to support the event, Harshman said, just to help spread awareness. All council members present agreed it was a good idea.

“I was thinking that we might try to contact some of the local restaurants and see if maybe they’d like to put up tents,” Harshman said. “If they try to sell it, they’re going to have health department issues. If they give away samples, that may be a better thing.”

Also on Tuesday:

  • It was announced that the annual Town and County Dinner will be held in Toms Brook on April 4 with a program on agribusiness and agritourism in the country.
  • The Edinburg Mill was selected for inclusion in the Virginia History Trail app as part of the American Evolution 2019 Commemoration event, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the first representative legislative assembly in the New World.
  • All members of the Town Council except for Barbara Strong, who was absent, approved renewal of the town’s health benefits program, despite a 9 percent increase in cost.