Projects win grant money

Published 11:06 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016

By Carly Shaia

Special to The Farmville Herald

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On Friday, $5,000 in grant money was divided and awarded to three projects to enhance downtown Farmville.

Five proposals, chosen from over 20 entries, were presented. The three winning proposals were bicycle parking ($2,500), bistro tables and chairs ($1,500) and a READ Farmville book cart in association with the Virginia Children’s Book Festival ($1,000).

The Soup Event was hosted at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) in downtown Farmville.

Joe Gills, a recent Longwood University graduate and Soup event organizer, was inspired by the Detroit SOUP event, which follows similar guidelines as the one held in Farmville.

“Some proposals were individuals, some were organizations and some were Longwood students … (people) from all different parts of the community,” he said, explaining the types of people who entered.

According to Gills, the Downtown Farmville Partnership and Longwood University made collective donations to amount to the total $5,000.

“The event is meant to bring the community together,” said Gills. The inaugural Soup event is an event that Gills hopes will continue annually, if not semi-annually.

“We are really excited to see the projects happen after this event,” said Gills.

Throughout the evening, members of the community ate soup and listened to the finalists pitch their ideas.

“We tried to make sure the committee represented different entities from Farmville,” said Amanda McKinney, a Soup committee member.

The committee had the responsibility of selecting the finalists from the large pool of proposals. “We were looking for something to benefit, specifically, downtown Farmville, so narrowing things down … made it hard,” McKinney said.

The proposal needed to be able to improve downtown Farmville in multiple ways, such as through increasing revenue or refurbishing.

“One of the things we were looking for was something that could be done quickly … but also improve the look of downtown (for the debate),” said McKinney.

Charles Repp, a Longwood University visiting assistant professor of philosophy, submitted the first-place proposal of the bike parking.

“I am really happy that it

appears my vision for downtown is shared by a lot of other people. I’m excited to make this happen,” he said.

“I am very excited to be part of the winning proposals,” Mossler said. “All of the proposals were great, and I hope that they will implement them all in downtown Farmville.”

Mossler said she plans on contacting Greenfront Furniture “so I can purchase the bistro tables and chairs locally. Then, I will recruit some volunteers to  stencil the chairs. I think I can get this accomplished well before the vice presidential debate.”

Mossler said she got the idea while visiting her daughter in Brooklyn.

“When people see others reading in public, it takes away a stigma,” said third place-winner Juanita Giles. “It’s strengthening the community and its relationship (to reading).”