A Grant 'Let Down'
Published 4:15 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2012
DILLWYN – Currently preparing for construction of its fourth phase of a streetscape project through the Transportation Enhancement Program, the Town of Dillwyn received what Mayor Ervin Toney described as “a bit of a let down.”
At council's March meeting, the mayor advised council that the town would probably receive a grant award of $344,767 for phase five.
Initially, the town, in hopes of being able to complete the streetscape project, requested close to $1.4 million in grant funds. However, VDOT, citing program-funding limits, decreased the request to $1 million.
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Toney shared that VDOT then requested a revised application for $689,534 with an anticipated grant award of 50 percent or $344,767.
Providing an update on phase four, Peggy Johnson, town clerk, said she was waiting on the contract from LPDA, designers of the project, as well as the request for proposal, RFP, to advertise for the project's construction.
Phase four involves new sidewalks, streetlights, and landscaping along Route 15 from Conner Street to Rosney Road.
After the update on the streetscape project, Johnson provided an update on the town's revitalization project, which is funded through a $663,640 Community Development Block Grant through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
Johnson reported that the architect met with business property owners of February 21. She said two of the participants have not submitted their changes nor signed their scopes, which has pushed the project behind by two to three weeks.
Dave West and Shanika Mitchell, of the Virginia Employment Commission, were on hand to explain VEC's role in the community.
“Most people think that the VEC is unemployment but there is no U in VEC,” began West. He explained that although they do assist those who are unemployed, the emphasis of the VEC is on employment.
According to West, the VEC is reaching out in the area to find employers and employment opportunities.
He explained that the VEC is also seeking to work with those who are currently unemployed as well as those who are looking to move up the ladder to help match them with potential employers.
West provided packets to each council member. The packets included a survey for employers as well as information about employer conferences, on-the-job training, Trade Adjustment Assistance Act programs, and work opportunity tax credit.
He asked council members to either fill out the survey or pass them along to other employers. West explained that by learning more about the employers and those looking for work, the VEC would be better able to meet the needs of Dillwyn and Buckingham.
In an effort to find out what is required before construction begins, the Reverend Billy Swan and Gerry Henderson, representing White Hall United Methodist Church, spoke to council about plan to build a 26-foot by 32-foot pavilion behind the church.
Henderson explained that the pavilion would be used for church programs, meals, and services.
Councilor Karen Sue Moss, who chairs the planning and zoning committees, explained that a zoning permit is required. She said that they would need to provide the town with a copy of the plat showing where the structure would be placed.
Town Clerk Peggy Johnson advised that the application and requirements were on the town's website at www.dillwynva.org.
Johnson explained that after council approves the zoning permit, the church would have to obtain a building permit from the county. She added that the contractor would also need to get a town business license if they did not have one.
Councilor Sandra Moss said plans were progressing for the town's 100th Anniversary celebration that will be held in conjunction with Buckingham County Day on Saturday, May 12, in the town.
Moss noted that vendor forms are available by calling Judy Grigg at 315-3446 or emailing email@example.com.
Johnson shared copies of the invitation letters that will be sent to elected officials and other dignitaries.
Parade forms are available by calling Town Hall at 983-2076 and leaving contact information or on the town's website at www. dillwynva.org.
S. Moss added that inquiries could also be directed to the Chamber of Commerce at 983-2372.
Councilor K. S. Moss reported that she spoke with Kevin Wright and Danny James at VDOT about the use of electronic signs to warn drivers of an event in progress on the day of the celebration.
While discussing the need for traffic control, Vice Mayor Linda Paige said she would contact Sheriff William G. Kidd and the Virginia State Police about coverage and their assistance not only for the parade but also for the entire day of the event.
Handing foil-covered trays to her fellow council members, S. Moss encouraged her fellow council members to use the trays for the baked goods they are going to donate to the April 7 Pre-Easter Bake Sale.
The bake sale, which is sponsored by the Dillwyn Committee of the Buckingham Chamber of Commerce, will be held at Farmer's Foods from 9 a.m. until all the baked goods are sold.
Proceeds will be used toward the on-going Dillwyn Clean-Up and Beautification effort.
Moss reminded that the next town-wide Dillwyn Clean-Up is scheduled for the last weekend in April.
Continuing with its discussion on ways to fence in the borders of the town's cemetery in an economical yet aesthetical manner, council talked about using shrubbery and trees.
Councilor Karen Sue Moss reported that she called Virginia Tech to see if students could use the project in conjunction with their coursework. However, she is still waiting for an answer from her contact.
She added that plans to talk with a local landscaper and grower. Moreover, she said she has talked with the horticulture department at the Buckingham Career and Technical Education Center.
Moss said she also spoke with Spencer Adams, scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 6535, about the possibility of a scout using the cemetery fencing as an Eagle Scout project.
Councilor Bill Lewis Moss shared that he met with the cemetery committee and they went over things that needed to be done.
He said the committee recommended removing several trees. Noting that the trees are in areas where caution must be taken to avoid damage to headstones, Councilor Sandra Moss asked if council would authorize them to contact an individual experienced in removing trees.
In turn, council authorized Councilors Sandra and Bill Lewis Moss to get a price for removing the trees.
S. Moss recommended that the town establish a separate cemetery fund that would not only be for maintenance but also for some enhancements.
Mayor Toney suggested setting up a perpetual care fund for the cemetery.
Agreeing, Vice Mayor Paige reminded that they previously talked about sending out letters requesting donations for such a fund.
Sandra Moss offered that perhaps if people see improvements underway at the cemetery, they would be more inclined to make donations.
Council agreed to purchase a new vacuum cleaner and a carpet cleaner for the Town Hall.
In a unanimous move, council approved a list of dates submitted by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for use of the Town Hall for its meeting.
Councilor Karen Sue Moss shared that she talked with VDOT's Kevin Wright about the crosswalk signs not being visible enough to be effective.
Mayor Toney advised council that he talked with Virginia State Trooper David Edmondston about vehicles parked in the crosswalks.
“He said they would be very happy to keep an eye on it and police the area closer,” shared the Mayor.
Vice Mayor Paige requested that council authorize a memorial resolution for Irene Logan.
Clerk Johnson encouraged council to consider submitting some of the town's projects, such as the revitalization project, for the VML Achievement Awards program.
Mayor Toney said he had no objection to doing so if anyone wanted to work on a submission.