Webinar Series – Downtown Buildings: Tools for Revitalization

Virginia Main Street (VMS) is hosting a series of three webinars throughout June covering topics related to downtown buildings and tools for revitalization.  All webinars are FREE, however, registration for each one is required.

Virginia Rehabilitation Code
June 6, 2018, Noon-1 p.m.

Speaker: Jeff Brown, MCP, Director of State Building Codes, DHCD

The Rehabilitation Code can sometimes be daunting for downtown building owners to navigate when determining how to make property improvements.  How do you modernize an older building without breaking the bank to meet current requirements? This webinar will help you understand what code sections to reference and available tools to make discussing your planned improvement with your local official easier.

Virginia Main Street Financial Feasibility Studies
June 13, 2018, Noon-1 p.m.

Speaker: Kathleen O. Frazier, AIA, Principal, Frazier Associates

Do you have a large-scale downtown building that sits vacant or underutilized and you do not know what can be done with it? A financial feasibility study is one way to crack open new possibilities for the building and community.  This webinar will walk through the what, when, who and how of the feasibility study process.  With a completed study, your community and property owners will know what to expect and have the answers to attract potential developers, tenants or new owners.

Virginia Maintenance Code
June 27, 2018, Noon-1 p.m.

Speaker: Jeff Brown, MCP, Director of State Building Codes, DHCD

The Maintenance Code provides localities with the means to deal with, not only unsafe structures unfit for habitation, but also the means to reduce blight and maintain property values.  In this webinar, you will learn what the Maintenance Code is and is not, as well as how your locality can enforce it to insure a fair and measured approach is taken.  Topics will cover examples of blight related ordinances, roles of the local and state boards and technical support services available through DHCD.



One-Stop Website for Virginia Grants

Governor McAuliffe held his first Grants Summit recently at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond, Virginia. The educational event was attended by more than 70 State Agencies who gathered to hear from experts on writing an effective grant application.

The summit highlighted the Virginia grants portal, provided tips on writing a successful grant application, and highlighted the importance of establishing long term partnerships. Grants are an essential part of the Commonwealth’s federal funding opportunities that help fund critical areas such as education, health, public safety, and community development.

“Acquiring grant funding is a key way for state government to maximize the services we offer to taxpayers within budgetary resources we have,” said Governor McAuliffe.  “Today’s summit brought together grant representatives from state agencies to share best practices and prepare to pursue every available financial opportunity wisely and aggressively.

Governor McAuliffe launched the Virginia Grants portal in September 2015 as a one-stop source for agencies to search for grant opportunities and to understand how federal tax dollars are being spent. The portal also provides information about which grants present opportunities for state and local governments as well as private businesses and organizations.  The website was developed as a way to foster collaboration among the state agencies and increase transparency.

 Learn More >>


Building Entrepreneurial Economies (BEE) grant deadline extended to end of May

The application deadline for the 2017 Building Entrepreneurial Economies (BEE) grant program has been extended through May 31, 2016. BEE grants provide resources to small business development organizations, local governments, planning district commissions and other nonprofit organizations that deliver services to entrepreneurs in new and original ways.

Organizations may apply for up to $15,000 for a planning grant and up to $40,000 for an implementation grant. Planning grants allow organizations to assess market demand for services, research innovative means of providing business services and identify resource gaps. Implementation grants will help communities and organizations to implement business development strategies that result in business start-ups, expansions and job creation.

Applications must be submitted in CAMS by 11:59 p.m. on May 31, 2016.


Virginia Main Street Grant Opportunities

VMS-logo-colorVirginia Main Street is currently accepting grant applications for FY 2017. Grants are available only to designated VMS communities and must be administered through the designated local VMS organization.

Downtown Investment Grants (DIGs) allow Main Street organizations to take on unique, one-time projects that measurably, creatively and sustainably advance the organization’s goals and strategies.

FY 2017 DIGs are available in two categories:

Design: Projects that will visually enhance the Main Street District. These may include wayfinding systems, street furnishings, façade improvements or other unique aesthetic enhancement projects.

Economic Vitality: Projects that will contribute to the revitalization activity in or near your Main Street District. These projects may include an innovative economic revitalization idea with implementation plan, new independent businesses that create new full time jobs in your Main Street district or other exciting projects that result in positive job creation and fulfills an economic vitality goal from your organization’s current work plan.

The last day DIG applications will be accepted is May 2, 2016. For more information about DIG, click here.

Financial Feasibility grants allow Main Street organizations to work with owners of significant “white elephant” buildings or those with non-productive upper floor space. The purpose is to identify the highest and best use of such properties and to develop sufficient information to allow the owner or Main Street organization to “shop” the rehabilitation and reuse of the property to private developers and investors.

Financial feasibility grants are being accepted on an ongoing basis until funding is exhausted. You can get more information about the grants here.

Tourism magnets on Virginia’s Main Streets

It’s no newsflash for Main Street communities that cultural heritage and history-based tourism can bring meaningful revenue downtown. Here are a few examples of strategic investments and attractions affecting Main Street communities. They’re gathered by our friends at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR). To sign up for DHR’s news clips, contact: Randy Jones.

Tourism and Rail in Lynchburg: When city and state officials worked toward getting a second Amtrak train from Lynchburg to Washington, D.C. the idea was to get travelers to Washington. But there are also things to see and do in Lynchburg. And the city’s tourism officials are working on making the Hill City a destination for those getting on the train in Washington. In April, the region will participate in a Virginia Tourism Corporation advertising blitz in D.C. metro stations. To learn more, read the article in the News and Advance.

Natural History in Martinsville: Visitors to the Virginia Museum of Natural History can examine and compare different specimens of dinosaurs, as several large skeleton casts of dinosaurs will be on display in the new exhibit: Messages from the Mesozoic, including a 40-foot-long Acrocanthosaurus and a 12-foot-long feathered Deinonychus, both of which date back more than 100 million years. The dinosaurs on display are believed to have roamed in Virginia and other places. The only pieces of evidence of dinosaurs in Virginia found so far are footprints, or other trace fossils. For more information, read the Martinsville Bulletin article.

Frontier Heritage in Smyth County: The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded a $17,500 for the Settlers Museum in Smyth County. The museum plans to undertake development of a master strategic plan, including a physical assessment of its historic farm structures to prioritize critical structural repairs, development of concepts for additional programming, and an agricultural tourism feasibility study. The museum’s 67 acres feature a restored 19th-century living history farm complete with farmhouse and eight original outbuildings, plus the restored 1894 one-room Lindamood school. For more information read the article in Southwest Virginia Today.