In a nail-biting gathering last Wednesday, 10 business-owners were revealed as recipients of part of an $80,000 matching grant issued by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for proposals to improve their shopfronts in downtown Montross.
The Montross Revitalization Facade Improvement committee announced that owners of the former Wakefield Furniture Building, NAPA, Jameka Building and the Compulsive Cravings Antiques and Gifts Store each received $10,000 towards improvement. Angelo’s Pizzeria, the former P&D Automotive Shop, Art of Coffee, the George Townsend Law and Allegiance Title Insurance offices each received $7,200 and Montross Auto Body Shop received $4,000.
Applicants must match their grant dollar for dollar, as part of the program. The maximum an applicant could receive for their property was $10,000, said Jerry Davis, executive director of the Northern Neck Planning District Commission. “I really want to thank them because they have devoted a lot of time on this,” Davis said of the facade committee.
The announcement is part of the town’s revitalization plan to steer more business into downtown Montross. Once Davis took his seat, the room was very quiet with 30 people in attendance waiting eagerly to hear the news. Raymond Herlong, vice-president of Herlong Associates Inc., also thanked the committee. As part of the selection process, Herlong said the architecture firm reviewed 29 properties in Montross, but only 25 applied for the grant. Property owners received free consultations with the firm. “We wanted to come up with something fresh,” Herlong said.
As part of the selection process the committee reviewed properties with visibility to the road, physical need, historic contribution and cost of improvements, said Herlong. The committee used a scoring sheet and questionnaire to determine what properties could impact the facade improvement.