Projects see development

Published 9:35 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Two projects in Buckingham County are moving forward, Commonwealth Regional Council Planner (CRC) Todd Fortune reported during a meeting May 30.

Todd Fortune

The first project, the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) in the Town of Dillwyn, is going smoothly, Fortune said. He noted that the CRC and town held a community kickoff meeting May 12 for households involved with the grant.

“We had six houses signed up for the project, and we had five of them show up for the community meeting,” Fortune said. “It was actually open for anyone in the project area, so we actually had an additional household show up who had not signed on, but who was interested, so we have them on a waiting list.”

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He said the town and CRC have gotten the paperwork established for the project.

“The big, next task right now is for the town to complete title searches for all of those participating houses,” Fortune said. He estimated the titles will be available within the next month.

The grant aids localities in Virginia to complete projects improving health care access, water and sewer infrastructure, downtown revitalization, public safety and housing rehabilitation.

Dillwyn was one of 15 locations to receive the grant, which totals $445,400. The project would rehabilitate six homes on the project site, which includes Culbreth Street and parts of White, Carter, Hancock and Conner streets.

One house, Fortune said in a previous Herald interview, will be torn down and rebuilt — a process called a “substantial reconstruct.” He said the house’s owner has had to live elsewhere as the home became uninhabitable.

“Things are moving along, and we hope to have construction started sometime in the fall for the first set of houses,” Fortune said.

Buckingham County Public Schools (BCPS) Superintendent Dr. Cecil Snead confirmed that the division has written grants for three additional school security officers through programs discussed with Fortune.

The two programs are the School Resource Officer and School Security Officer Incentive Grant Program and the National Rifle Association, the National Shield Grant Program.

The School Resource Officer and School Security Officer Incentive Grant Program is available through the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, Fortune cited in a memo.

The National Rifle Association, the National Shield Grant Program funds initiatives to improve school security, Fortune cited.

“In cooperation with the Buckingham County Administration, Buckingham County Public Schools applied for three additional school security officers through the Department of Criminal Justice Services which is the incentive grant program,” Snead said in an email Thursday.

Snead made a request to the Buckingham Board of Supervisors for school resource officers during the board’s March 21 work session.

“There has been discussions all over the spectrum from putting school resource officers in each school or each building,” Snead said, noting that he spoke with parents of students and administration. “Then when we had further discussions, we said would a school security officer which is different from resource officer, would that be acceptable and of course they would be armed. I talked with Sheriff Kidd and he said to help me out with that, if we were able to get the school security officers that he would be glad to go along beside his men in training.”

District Four Supervisor Morgan Dunnavant suggested the potential to train and provide arms for teachers in the event of emergencies.

“Did you all consider that because $120,000 is a good chunk of new money in this budget?” Dunnavant said.

Snead said the administration and school board did discuss that option, but after discussion concluded that it would put teachers and students at a disservice.

“Our teachers are under so much pressure now, I can’t imagine that they would want to take on the responsibility of having arms,” Snead said.