What would this $350,000 be used for in Farmville?

Published 7:28 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2023

FARMVILLE – In recent weeks, and even in this edition of the paper, an ad has been running about an upcoming public hearing. On Wednesday, July 12 at 7 p.m., the Farmville Town Council will hold a hearing to discuss some money changing hands.

Specifically, the town council is considering “ a gift of $350,000 to the Farmville Industrial Development Authority to provide a loan(s) to entities for economic development in the main street corridor.” That’s taken directly from both the ad and the agenda for the upcoming hearing. The goal here is to help improve the downtown area.

Under Virginia law, a town can’t directly give out a loan. They don’t have the authority. However, what they can do is provide funding for a third party, like a regional economic development authority or industrial development authority. That group in turn can offer grants to businesses if they move in or provide it for existing operations who want to expand and grow. That’s the route Farmville is considering, to solve an ongoing issue.

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“We did sell the golf course and have some money as a result,” said Farmville Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis. “We do have some buildings on the main street corridor that have sat vacant for years. There’s desire on the town’s part (to help change) that. It’s beneficial for all of us when they don’t look bad, when they’re filled. We’re just looking at how the town could possibly assist in such a development.”

Trying to energize the Farmville downtown

Davis added that the goal here is to bring more life to the Main Street corridor.

“We have talked with a perspective that we want to float money to the IDA, in hopes they can assist people in getting these properties ready to develop,” Davis added.

Davis added that while he couldn’t release any names, town staff have talked with several people about using downtown buildings.

It’s one of a couple projects currently linked to cleaning up and filling empty buildings. The Farmville Downtown Partnership is hosting a study to see how viable two properties, 109 and 111 North Main Street, are and how best they can be used.

The study is looking at what would make the most sense for these buildings. Since one, if not both of them, will need serious renovations, the study is taking many aspects into consideration before deciding what to do, including what the area needs, what will be the most cost-effective, what’s best for the environment and what will be the best use of the space.

The Partnership is working with Summit Design and Engineering Services to make this happen. This company has done a lot with doing studies for creating structures to act as spaces for pop-up shops.

What’s next?

The public hearing on the $350,000 donation to the Industrial Development Authority will take place on Wednesday, July 12. The Farmville town council meeting begins at 7 p.m.