Funding for Southwood development project

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- An Albemarle County project is one of two getting funding for housing and community development projects.

Governor Ralph Northam announced $4.5 million in Vibrant Community Initiative, or VCI, funding for projects in Albemarle and Middlesex counties.

"The Vibrant Community Initiative is focused on expanding affordable housing needs and encouraging economic growth in areas with great potential by channeling state and federal resources to tackle large-scale, community-based projects," said Northam. "We are excited to see the impact of this investment in Albemarle and Middlesex counties as they undertake projects that will transform each community and improve the quality of life for the Virginians living in them."

In Albemarle County, the Southwood Redevelopment and Infrastructure Project is getting $2.25 million.

The Cooks Corner Revitalization Project in Middlesex County is getting the same amount.

VCI combines multiple state Department of Housing and Community development funding sources to support community-based projects, like affordable housing, community development and economic development.

In order to get funding, there is a tiered application process soliciting proposals, and applicants had to submit a pre-application to identify the project and its key characteristics.

Then a panel evaluates the proposals and visits the sites for the three highest-rated projects.

Once that is done, applicants must submit the full project-specific proposals.

The Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville has been working with the Southwood community for ten years to develop a plan to transform the community and provide housing and development opportunities.

The project is in the first of several phases that will transform the 350-plus mobile home park into affordable housing and mixed-income rental units.

The project aims to build water, sewer and road improvements necessary to develop a vacant parcel next to the current Southwood mobile home park to spur economic development in the community as well.

After the critical infrastructure is built, at least 20 single-family houses will be developed, creating homeownership opportunities for residents.

In Middlesex County, an historic school building will be repurposed into a restaurant and brewery as well as 24 unit of affordable housing, targeted at teachers, law enforcement officers and public employees.

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