Two projects in Patrick County are slated to receive more than $1.7 million in grants from Virginia’s Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF). The county will receive $850,000 to renovate the former Cockram Grist Mill in Vesta and $900,000 to renovate the building that formerly housed True Value hardware in Stuart.
The Patrick County Economic Development Authority (EDA) has said the former hardware store will be converted into a Business Recovery Center, a multi-use facility to meet the locality’s needs, eventually offering childcare services, co-working space and a business development center for use by entrepreneurs and local residents.
The EDA and STEP Inc. are partnering on the project and anticipate creating 10 jobs and providing childcare services for up to 75 children.
The county is partnering with a private developer on the redevelopment project at the former Cockram Grist Mill to turn it into the Freehouse Meadows of Dan Brewery. The proposed facility will include a brewery, full-service restaurant, tap room, lodging facility and rentable venue space. It will create an estimated 20 jobs, according to a release from Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who announced the projects last week.
Funding for the projects was part of the more than $24.7 million in IRF grants which are designed to support community revitalization, improved infrastructure, and workforce development by providing gap financing for construction projects aligned with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in distressed communities.
The two projects in Patrick County were among 22 awarded.
“I am thrilled that Patrick County is receiving these grants,” Del. Wren Williams, R-Stuart, said. “A new center for local childcare, co-working and business development at the old hardware store will be a great resource to our working parents and local business community.
“As for the Cockram Grist Mill, this historic landmark has great potential as a local attraction in Meadows of Dan. It is encouraging that new investors are coming in to breathe new life into this special location,” Williams said.
He added the grants “are another huge win for Patrick County. Full credit goes to the Patrick County EDA for their hard work making these connections and bringing in grant money to help our district. I will always support new investments to revitalize and grow our home in Southwest Virginia.”
“The transformation of older, vacant or blighted structures into productive, usable spaces is crucial to catalyzing economic growth to create thriving communities,” Youngkin said. “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 fund 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 across the Commonwealth.”
The 22 awarded projects will create more than 600 jobs and leverage an additional $72.8 million in public and private investment. Projects also include five mixed-use projects that will create nearly 200 new residential units. Since 2012, the IRF program has funded 38 projects that have revitalized vacant, blighted buildings. These projects have generated more than $121 million in other public and private investment and resulted in the creation of more than 485 jobs across the Commonwealth.