Recent News

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11.20.2020
Funding will support redevelopment of industrial and commercial structures in Vinton, Warsaw, and Wytheville RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) awards for the towns of Vinton, Warsaw, and Wytheville, totaling more than $1.4 million. The IRF provides gap financing to leverage local and private resources to achieve market-driven redevelopment of deteriorated structures, creating a catalyst for long-term employment opportunities and ongoing physical and economic revitalization. “This funding will not only help transform deteriorating or unused structures, it will bring purpose and new opportunity to the surrounding communities,” said Governor Northam. “With these three projects, we are making important investments in our future. As we focus on recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, our administration remains focused on driving economic growth to every corner of the Commonwealth, especially in rural Virginia.” Financial barriers often block the timely redevelopment of derelict structures, which require more than local resources to attract private-sector investment, and this is especially true in distressed commercial corridors. Eligible properties must be vacant and deteriorated and may be redeveloped for any market-driven purpose, including mixed-use, regardless of the original use. Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with a high level of blight, identification of impediments to economic development efforts, alignment with regional or local strategies, availability of matching resources, the level of community distress where the property is located, and an identified and feasible end use. “These blighted buildings oftentimes reflect an economic downturn in the towns’ past, but through revitalization and redevelopment, the community is breathing new life into these neighborhoods,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These projects align with the local and regional economic development goals and will leverage additional public and private investment in the towns receiving awards.” Since 2012, IRF has funded 34 projects, which have generated over $121 million in public and private investment, and resulted in the creation of more than 485 jobs across the Commonwealth. For more information about the IRF program, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/irf. The following projects will receive Industrial Revitalization Fund awards: Gish Mill Redevelopment Project Town of Vinton $468,750 The Town of Vinton will redevelop the historic Gish Mill into a mixed-use site that includes a restaurant, speakeasy, seasonal market, and lodging rooms. The IRF loan will be used for the rehabilitation and repair of the structure, as well as the demolition and removal of specific components. Vinton purchased the property in 2015 and is in the process of selling it to a local development group, which has private financing from local lending institutions committed for the purchase and renovation. This project is expected to create 37 full- and part-time jobs. Warsaw Hardware Building Redevelopment Project Town of Warsaw $468,750 The Town of Warsaw will utilize the IRF award for the buildout of a centrally located mixed-use site that will have a brewery space, taproom, upstairs event space, and patio. The Town of Warsaw received a $1 million Community Development Block Grant in 2017, and this project will help continue the locally developed revitalization plan. Matching funds for this project will come from the developer, Old Rappahannock Development Company, with the town contributing $93,000 in economic incentives. The project is expected to create four full-time and five to 10 part-time jobs. Millwald Theatre Restoration and Economic Revitalization Project Town of Wytheville $500,000 The Town of Wytheville is rehabilitating the Millwald Theatre as a community auditorium for live and film entertainment, as well as a center for performing arts education. The IRF award will be used for demolition and new construction within the existing structure, a new HVAC system, new plumbing, new electrical upgrades, and architecture and engineering fees. The project is expected to create seven full-time and at least seven part-time jobs.

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11.02.2020
Funding to advance regional workforce development programs, business scale-up initiatives in response to COVID-19 pandemic RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced two allocations of Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants, totaling more than $9 million. The first allocation of more than $7.8 million will support 11 regional projects and two statewide projects. The funding will help advance innovative workforce development initiatives designed to expand employment in the technology and maritime sectors and grow Virginia’s portfolio of business-ready sites. The grant awards will leverage an additional $15 million in non-state resources to support ongoing recovery and economic diversification efforts throughout Virginia. The second allocation of over $1.4 million was awarded to 19 projects through the new Economic Resilience and Recovery Program that created by the GO Virginia Board in April to quickly deploy resources that will help communities mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Information on the projects receiving funding through this program is available here. “The GO Virginia program continues to demonstrate how regional collaboration can give rise to innovative projects that deliver real economic impact, especially during challenging times like those we face right now,” said Governor Northam. “These projects will increase workforce capacity, enhance Virginia’s competitive business environment, and support our ongoing efforts to build resilient communities that are well-positioned for future success and growth.” “The projects are a testament to the GO Virginia Regional Councils’ leadership and their ability to respond to our current crisis while remaining committed to the program mission of growing regional economies and creating good jobs for Virginians,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We celebrate these grantees and their innovative projects that will transform the business landscape, both during this period of pandemic recovery and as we continue working to diversify Virginia’s economy.” “The recent efforts of the GO Virginia program illustrate how the Commonwealth can focus on critical short-term economic needs and continue to invest in transformational, long-term economic growth,” said Chairman of the GO Virginia State Board Tom Farrell. “These grants represent a combination of ingenuity and resilience during a time of continued challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Since the program’s inception in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 138 projects and awarded approximately $43.8 million to support regional economic development efforts. More information about the GO Virginia program can be found here. The GO Virginia Board includes key members of the Governor’s cabinet, the business community, and the General Assembly. 2020 ROUND THREE STATEWIDE GRANT AWARDS Virginia Small Business Development Center Cash Match 2020-2021 $1,000,000 The Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will expand its services for small businesses by providing matching funds required to access the full funding available from the Small Business Administration (SBA), which has a 1:1 match requirement with 50 percent cash.   Virtual Virginia Workforce $1,500,000 (Phase I skills gap analysis authorized) Region 4: Counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex and the cities of Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond Region 5: Counties of Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, and York and the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg  Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center (VMASC), Battel College of Engineering, and the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) will conduct a skills gap analysis and develop state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing training programs using augmented reality and simulation.   2020 ROUND THREE REGIONAL GRANT AWARDS Ignite Tech Talent Pipeline $251,960 Region 1: Counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe and the cities of Bristol, Galax, and Norton The United Way of Southwest Virginia will develop a talent pipeline of IT workers that will assess employer needs, align curriculum, provide career guidance for young people, expand internship experiences, and increase the secondary and post-secondary education systems’ capacity to prepare students for information technology occupations.   William King Museum of Art – Digital Workforce Development $70,910 Region 1: Counties of Smyth and Washington and the town of Abingdon The William King Museum of Art will develop a Digital Art Laboratory to provide a novel approach to digital design training. Students will have access to the most current designer software and 3-D prototyping equipment available, making their skills more valuable to companies.   Lonesome Pine Regional Industrial Facilities Authority (RIFA) Project Intersection $485,000 Region 1: Counties of Dickenson, Lee, Scott, and Wise and the city of Norton The Lonesome Pine RIFA will develop and repurpose a former 188-acre mine site in Norton. The site will provide four site-ready pad locations to include associated infrastructure, site-work, access roads, and amenities.   Experiential Learning in Tech Employment (ELITE) Internship Program $290,000 Region 2: Montgomery County and the city of Roanoke The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) will provide internship opportunities for students earning a software developer degree at a regional four-year university and connect them with small-based technology companies that do not have the expertise or capacity to manage an internship program.   Amherst Lynchburg Site Readiness $366,572 Region 2: Counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell, the city of Lynchburg, and the town of Amherst The Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance (LRBA) will advance a portfolio of six existing commercial and industrial sites along the site readiness scale to at least Tier 3 for the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program (VBRSP).   New River Valley COVID-19 Business Continuity Team $250,000 Region 2: Counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski and the city of Radford The New River Valley Regional Commission (NRVRC) will provide employers impacted by COVID-19 with 24/7 technical assistance from the Business Continuity Team (BCT) related to public relations and messaging, facility cleaning, certification of best practices, and coordination of on-site testing.   Hampton Roads Workforce Council Talent Pipeline Implementation Project $663,696 Region 5: Counties of Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, and York and the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg The Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC) will lead a comprehensive, data-driven approach to build a target-talent pipeline for the maritime industry in the Hampton Roads region. The initiative will include extensive employer engagement, aligning higher education curriculum and mandatory job requirements, on-the-job and incumbent worker training, regional apprenticeships, military and veteran outreach, college student engagement and graduate retention, talent portal development, soft skills development, and a workforce development alliance.   Hampton Roads Economic Development Sites Readiness Program $1,122,240 Region 5: Isle of Wight County and the cities of Newport News and Virginia Beach The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC) will advance a portfolio for three existing sites along the site readiness scale to a Tier 4 for the Virginia Business Ready Sites Program (VBRSP).   Germanna Community College Tech Talent Pipeline $634,938 Region 6: Counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford and the city of Fredericksburg The Germanna Community College Foundation will develop tech talent career pathways for more than 200 middle and high school students and adults seeking computer science, cyber-related, and engineering occupations. The initiative will create a new Engineering Technology-Mechatronics two-year certificate program and a Computer Science and Cyber Pathway.   Governor’s Health Sciences Academy Community Medi-corps Program $700,000 Region 7: Arlington County and the city of Alexandria The new Governor’s Health Sciences Academy Community Medi-corps Program will engage and prepare students for career pathways in the biomedical, lab sciences, and pharmaceutical industries. George Washington University’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus, in partnership with the Arlington Public Schools and the Alexandria Governor’s Health Sciences Academy, will create a mobile Immersive Learning Center that will provide state-of-the-art technology, simulation, and virtual hands-on activities, combined with work-based learning to streamline entry points into the region’s health sciences workforce. This initiative introduces an expanded use of curriculum, mentoring, internships, resources, and the introduction of a mobile Immersive Learning Center for Alexandria City Public Schools and Arlington Public Schools students through leveraged partnerships with business, industry, and higher education expertise.   Northern Virginia Biosciences Center $500,000 Region 7: Counties of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties and the city of Manassas Prince William County will support the development of a 30,000- square-foot, state-of the-art wet lab facility to attract new life sciences companies to the region and provide step-up spaces to existing life sciences companies that are outgrowing the Prince William County Life Sciences Accelerator.

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11.02.2020
Appalachian Regional Commission POWER grants will support substance abuse recovery, broadband expansion, and economic development initiatives Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia will receive six grants totaling more than $3.9 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative. The funding will support recovery health programs, broadband infrastructure expansion, workforce development, natural gas line improvements, and rural tourism and job growth efforts. “The Appalachian Regional Commission has long been a valuable partner in our efforts to build a strong and resilient economy and address the needs of our coal-impacted communities,” said Governor Northam. “These investments will improve the lives of individuals in Appalachian Virginia by making critical infrastructure improvements, expanding access to broadband, helping people navigate the substance abuse recovery process, building a sustainable and thriving workforce, and creating new opportunities for community and economic development.” The ARC POWER Initiative is a congressionally funded program that targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. This announcement is part of $43.3 million awarded to 51 projects to support economic diversification in the Appalachian region. The projects will attract $110 million in leveraged private investment, as well as a match of $81.5 million in public and private funds. “From health care and infrastructure to community and workforce development, these projects have the ability to transform the economic landscape of Virginia’s Appalachian communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This ARC funding goes hand in hand with the region’s goal to diversify its economy while creating vibrant communities with a high quality of life for residents and businesses alike.” The following projects will be awarded ARC funding: Henry County, in partnership with the Harvest Foundation and Southwest Virginia Gas Company, will receive $1,500,000 for the Site Improvements at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre (CCBC) project, which will complete a steel natural gas pipeline from the Patriot Line to the CCBC and associated facilities. CCBC’s access to natural gas will strengthen this key future business site and support the County’s transition to a more diverse manufacturing economy able to incorporate aviation, automotive, food processing, and advanced film production sectors. The project will serve a facility that has already created over 200 jobs and will enable more companies to move jobs into CCBC and the surrounding area. The New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Area Consortium Board in the City of Radford will receive $1,494,000 for the Pathways to a Strong and Healthy Region project, which will focus on unifying the resources and services that support individuals with substance abuse disorder (SUD) to create a recovery-ready region. Through partnerships and support from Eagles Nest Regeneration and Ballad Health, the project will serve 350 workers in recovery and 30 workers in the health care and human services sectors, as well as 150 businesses. The project will help create continuity among support services, sustain long-term recovery for individuals, and scale efforts for greater impact across the community, resulting in a strong regional recovery ecosystem. St. Mary’s Health Wagon (The Health Wagon) in Wise County will receive $793,500 for the Southwest Virginia Medication-Assisted Treatment Services Project, which will establish a substance abuse treatment program that complements the region’s existing services. Southwest Virginia has been hit hard by the downturn in the coal economy and the concurrent substance abuse crisis. Community organizations have been leading the effort to identify and implement services that prevent and treat SUD issues and are seeking to offer an alternative to existing medication-assisted treatment services. The Southwest Virginia Medication-Assisted Treatment Services Project is expected to create four jobs and serve 75 patients in its first year of operation with the expectation that it will serve approximately 150 patients each year in the future. LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, which comprises the counties of Lee, Scott, and Wise, and the city of Norton, will receive $50,000 for the Tri-State Broadband Infrastructure Feasibility Study, which will create a plan to establish a fiber-optic network in a 13-county region of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Currently, only 64 percent of households in this service area have access to high-speed internet. By convening stakeholders and determining the region’s critical Network Access Points, the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission will connect households and businesses to other nearby regional networks and establish a fiber-optic network, allowing the multi-county region to be marketed for data center development. The Center for Rural Virginia is receiving $39,755 for the Virginia Rural Leaders Institute (VRLI), which will focus on strengthening civic leadership development for rural communities across the Commonwealth by convening community leaders over a series of four sessions in the region. The project will deliver a robust curriculum that includes leadership, community, and economic development competencies for leaders throughout Southwest Virginia. The first VRLI will graduate 30 leaders and create a statewide rural network to strengthen rural development at the local level. The New River Valley Regional Commission will receive $32,940 for the New River Water Trail Expansion Strategic Plan. This project will formulate a strategy to cultivate the natural assets around the New River to increase talent attraction, tourism, and job growth by improving river accessibility and trail signage, providing a market analysis of user groups and potential partners, and designing a marketing strategy for the water trail. The New River Water Trail Expansion Strategic Plan will also develop an expansion model that can be applied throughout Virginia and in surrounding Appalachian states.

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Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a market-based collaborative effort among Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, while driving economic growth. DHCD, in coordination with the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, will administer just over half of the proceeds from the RGGI cap and trade program to energy efficiency programs benefiting low-income Virginians by making investments in affordable housing.

Virginia Governor's Housing Conference

Mark your calendar for the virtual 2020 Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference Nov. 18-20. Join us for this three-day event packed full of educational sessions led by experts in housing, finance, and community development.

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Local Government Exchange Program

The Virginia Local Government Exchange Program will serve as a vehicle to explore and build stronger relationships between community leaders in our vast state. This pilot program is a partnership of the Governor’s Office, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) and Virginia Municipal League (VML).

Partners for Better Communities Podcast

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Virginia Disparity Study

Virginia has commissioned BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a disparity study to assess whether barriers exist for minority- or woman-owned businesses that make it more difficult for them to compete for commonwealth contracts.

Virginia Main Street Blog

Check out the latest happenings in the Main Street and downtown revitalization world through the Virginia Main Street Blog.

2018 Code Development Process

The Virginia Building Codes are updated through the code development process. Virginia is a leader in building and fire code development, and stakeholder input is vital to Virginia’s code development process. Participation is encouraged and remote participation is made possible through cdpVA.

Landlord Tenant Handbook

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (VRLTA) handbook has been prepared to provide information on the rights, remedies and responsibilities of landlords and renters concerning the rental process. Before signing a lease, prospective tenants should read and understand the terms of the contract. Consulting a lawyer or the landlord for clarification of the rental agreement is advisable.