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Town, county selected for manufacturing pilot program

The Town of Farmville and Prince Edward County have been selected by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and Virginia Main Street as a part of the 2020 Small Scale Manufacturing Pilot Program.

As a participant of the program, Farmville/Prince Edward County will receive approximately $10,000 worth of technical assistance services from the National Main Street Center.

According to Program Manager Chelsey White with Farmville Downtown Partnership, the purpose of the pilot is to provide technical assistance to communities with potential to have small-scale manufacturing as an economic development and revitalization strategy and identify opportunities and resources for scale-up and implementation strategies.

“Small-scale or artisan manufacturing is not new to downtown Farmville,” White said. “We have producers of furniture, jewelry, pottery, cosmetic care items, screen-printed clothing, beer, and baked goods. We want to explore ways to better support these producers and attract more to further revitalization and economic development efforts in downtown Farmville.”

A joint application was submitted on behalf of Farmville Downtown Partnership, Prince Edward County, and the Town of Farmville.

The pilot will kick off this month. Final reports are scheduled to be completed before July.

“Through this pilot program, we look forward to learning what strategies and opportunities exist to assist us in maintaining and enhancing small scale manufacturing in the Town of Farmville,” Interim Town Manager Dr. C. Scott Davis said.

According to White, data suggests this form of manufacturing is rapidly growing in downtowns across the country, expanding and diversifying the employment and retail opportunities found there.

“We all are invested in strengthening our community through economic development growth and working together is a win-win for us all and for the community as a whole,” Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors chairman Jerry Townsend said.

The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), provides assistance and training to help communities increase the economic vitality of their downtown commercial districts.

The Farmville Downtown Partnership is a non-profit organization with the mission to cultivate resources in the community to create a vibrant historic commercial district.