Five Designated Virginia Main Street (VMS) Communities have been awarded 2011 Downtown Improvment Grants. This year, VMS communities served by CSX Transportation rail lines were eligible for a match of up to $5,000 from the corporation, pushing the awards from $2,500 to a total of $7,500.
Waynesboro and Winchester will receive CSX Transportation VMS Downtown Improvement Grants. Communities receiving VMS Downtown Improvement Grants are Berryville, Blackstone and Marion. The discrete projects must be completed by December of this year and were selected due to their capacity for impact, the level of volunteer involvement and the degree to which they leverage additional resources. The following projects were selected from among the 17 submitted:
Waynesboro: A downtown riverside observation deck along a key section of the South River will strengthen the connection between the community, the district, regional outdoor recreation and quality of life strategies. Several river access facilities and greenway trail resources intersect at the site. ($7,500)
Winchester: A flexible staging platform will be developed and purchased as part of a coordinated events strategy for Old Town Winchester. The professional staging system will create an enhanced audience experience at community events and performances. ($7,500)
Berryville: A downtown design improvements project furthers recommendations by the Virginia Main Street architect to engage property owners in simple district improvements. Grant products will include planters, a door improvement contest and a wayfinding kiosk. ($2,500)
Blackstone: A historical markers project engages property owners, local historians and the Town in identifying and communicating the stories of the historical assets that shape this historic commercial district. ($2,500)
Marion: A largely volunteer based “Big Surprise” façade improvement program will dramatically improve the appearances of three buildings, two of which are owned by local nonprofits. In a quick burst of activity, old facades will be removed, with basic improvements begun over the weekend. ($2,500)