RICHMONDâGovernor Ralph Northam today announced $ 1.5 million in Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund grants for Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth. The three grants will rehabilitate a waterfront industrial property in Portsmouth, develop a test site at Newport News for unmanned surface vehicles and unmanned underwater vehicles, and create spaces for retail and offices at Newport News. The awards will help redevelop infrastructure and create long-term employment opportunities.
“Investing in our port host communities is essential to ensure the continued economic health of our Commonwealth”, Governor Northam said. “These three projects will transform port infrastructure and bring new opportunities, economic development and revitalization to these communities.”
The General Assembly has allocated $ 1.5 million in grants from the Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund until 2022. This money will help with the removal, renovation or modernization of port buildings and facilities. in the five host communities of the Port of Virginia: the Town of Front Royal and the Towns of Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond.
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers funding under the Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund grant program. All projects will receive at least a 100 percent match in funding from public or private sources.
“The flexibility of the Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund is an integral part of its effectiveness and allows a wide variety of redevelopment activities” said Secretary of Commerce and Commerce Brian Ball. “Each project is being redeveloped for a market determined purpose and will breathe new life into these once abandoned structures.”
Grants from the 2022 Port Host Communities Revitalization Fund:
City of Portsmouth: Ship Carpenter Bulkhead Replacement | $ 856,000
The City of Portsmouth will receive funding for Phase I of the Shipwright Project to complete the bulkhead replacement at 3301 Shipwright Street. Phase I involves replacing 430 linear feet of bulkheads on the 13.2 acre waterfront property. The replacement serves as the basis for many other renovations planned for the property. The replacement will prevent further erosion, preserve the environment, prevent debris and silt runoff, and provide ground stability near the shore. Upon completion of Phase I, the existing fabrication shop will be immediately available for use.
Town of Norfolk: Willoughby Boat Ramp | $ 394,000
The City of Norfolk, in partnership with Old Dominion University (ODU), is renovating the nearly five-acre Willoughby boat ramp to create a test site for unmanned surface vehicles (USV) and under- Unmanned Sailors (UUV). Several USV / UUV companies operate in the Hampton Roads area and have noted a need for test sites to expand. The boat launch is currently used by several small commercial fishermen. Boating will continue to be available and free at this location. ODU’s Open Seas Technology Innovation Center will serve as the immediate user, leasing the facility to the city for commercial and academic USV / UUV testing, and helping to market it as a future test site for d ‘others.
City of Newport News: Jefferson Avenue co-working space, Phase II | $ 250,000
The City of Newport News is renovating a vacant two-story commercial building (2510 Jefferson Avenue) into retail space on the first floor and office space on the second floor. The adjacent building has recently been converted into a co-working space. The opening of this building in the summer of 2021 demonstrated a demand for offices in the district. This property is located on a main thoroughfare that supports transit related to the port.
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