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Resources for Communities

Virginia Main Street

The Virginia Main Street Program is a preservation-based economic and community development program that follows the Main Street Four-Point Approach™ developed by the National Trust Main Street Center. Virginia Main Street offers a range of services and assistance to communities interested in revitalizing their historic commercial districts. While the program was designed to address the need for revitalization and on-going management of smaller to mid-sized downtowns, aspects of the Main Street Approach™ may be applied successfully in other commercial settings.

Virginia Enterprise Zones

The Virginia Enterprise Zone (VEZ) program is a partnership between state and local government that encourages job creation and private investment. VEZ accomplishes this by designating Enterprise Zones throughout the state and providing two grant-based incentives, the Job Creation Grant (JCG) and the Real Property Investment Grant (RPIG), to qualified investors and job creators within those zones, while the locality provides local incentives.

The Community Development Block Grant

The Virginia Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides funding to eligible units of local government for planning and implementing projects that address critical community development needs, including housing, infrastructure and economic development. The goal of the CDBG Program is to improve the economic and physical environment in Virginia’s communities through activities which primarily benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums and blighting conditions or meet urgent needs which threaten the welfare of citizens.

Virginia’s Appalachian Regional Commission

The focus of Virginia’s Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is fostering economic development and improving the quality of life for Appalachian citizens. The ARC provides assistance in the long-term development of a chronically-depressed region, which encompasses 25 counties and eight independent cities in Virginia.

ARC funding is directed to projects that include water and sewer service to communities, workforce training for skilled trades and professionals, regional economic restructuring efforts and heritage and cultural tourism. Other funds seek to build a strong and sustainable asset-based economy, bringing jobs and prosperity to Appalachian communities while preserving their character. Projects which address the leveraging of cultural assets, natural assets, community assets, structural assets and business and economic assets are eligible for funding, as are energy efficiency improvements as a part of an eligible project. The Virginia ARC program may also be available to help with the development of an access road to support the location or expansion of an industry.

Building Entrepreneurial Economies

Building Entrepreneurial Economies (BEE) is the next evolution of Virginia’s commitment to micro-entrepreneurship. Formerly known as Virginia Enterprise Initiative (VEI), BEE is taking a more local approach to developing stronger businesses that help build stronger communities.

BEE provides grants and technical assistance to regional and local micro-enterprise development organizations (MDOs) that specialize in assisting non-traditional entrepreneurs. This assistance includes pre-concept counseling, business plan development, credit repair and counseling, credit access and continuing technical assistance. To deliver these services, the MDOs also partner with banks, area businesses, educational institutions, each other and/or other private and public entities within the community. These organizations provide a service that often is not otherwise available and are designed to support the entrepreneur, even after accessing capital. VEI seeks to engage MDOs that provide innovative processes to attract and assist micro-entrepreneurs.

Industrial Revitalization Fund

The Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) leverages local and private resources to achieve market-driven redevelopment of vacant and deteriorated industrial and commercial properties.

The program is targeted toward vacant industrial structures whose poor condition creates physical and economic blight to the surrounding area in which the structure is located. Eligible properties shall include those formerly used for manufacturing, warehousing, mining, transportation and power production, as well as large-scale white elephant structures, such as department stores, theaters, hotels and shopping centers. Structures whose original intended use was solely residential are not eligible.

Remnants of past economic vibrancy and local economies in transition, these structures are no longer suited for their former purpose, and in their current deteriorated condition, stand as a significant deterrent for future economic opportunity in the surrounding area and region. The maximum level of funding is $500,000.

Planning District Commission

PDCs provide the link between federal and state programs and the local level, where development actually occurs.