Town awarded $1 million for revitalization

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2022

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The Town of Kenbridge has been awarded $1 million to redevelop a former wood-finishing factory into a manufacturing facility and distribution center.

The funds come as part of the Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) grants. IRF grants provide gap financing for construction projects aligned with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in distressed communities.

The announcement came Tuesday morning, Dec. 27, as Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Kenbridge was one of 22 localities to receive more than $ 24.7 million in IRF grants.

According to a release from the Governor’s office, the funds awarded to the Town of Kenbridge will be used to produce environmentally-friendly food packaging containers using softwood pulp, hardwood pulp, and other agricultural residues in the Old Wood Finishing Factory building.

“The transformation of older, vacant or blighted structures into productive, usable spaces is crucial to catalyzing economic growth to create thriving communities,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “The Industrial Revitalization Fund continues to be an important resource for those redevelopment efforts, spurring regional partnerships, economic development and job growth across the Commonwealth.”

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 non-residential structures whose poor condition creates physical and economic blight to the surrounding area in which the structure is located.

Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with a high level of blight, identification of impediments to economic development efforts, alignment with regional or local strategies, availability of matching resources, the level of community distress where the property is located and an identified and feasible end-use.

“These funded projects are transforming deteriorated structures that impede future economic development efforts into small businesses, tourism destinations, and sources of community pride,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Through IRF grants, we are able to make investments in both Virginia’s infrastructure and vibrancy by supporting impactful projects, encouraging strategic collaborations, and fostering economic development efforts.