Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. received $75,000 from the Virginia Main Street (VMS) Downtown Investment Grant (DIG).  In total $2,910,500 in grant money was awarded to 45 projects across the commonwealth through Virginia Main Street (VMS), Community Business Launch (CBL) and Virginia Business District Resurgence (VBDRG) grants. The funded projects will revitalize historic commercial districts, expand small businesses, and bolster local economies.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) administers all the programs, and the funding is utilized to support small business creation and expansion, as well as the revitalization of historic downtown and Virginia Main Street districts.

In total, the 45 projects will support 647 businesses, create or expand 53 businesses, train 140 entrepreneurs, provide 112 façade and downtown improvement projects and leverage more than $980,000 in private investment.

“Virginia is open for business, and my administration recognizes the importance of building strong entrepreneurial ecosystems and investing in our historic downtowns to make Virginia the best place to do business in the nation,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “These investments will ensure that, as we grow Virginia’s economy, we are supporting our local economies and creating strategic economic opportunities while preserving the unique character of these communities across the Commonwealth.”

VMS Downtown Investment Grants support advancing Virginia Main Street communities and can be used to fund complete projects, provide seed funding for new projects or provide gap financing that allows a project to become fully funded.

“We are excited to be a recipient of the Virginia Main Street Downtown Investment Grant.  This additional funding will allow us to improve downtown wayfinding signage showcasing all our growing downtown has to offer and make needed repair work and complete improvement projects for the downtown E.B. Wood Community Park.” States Jessica Jenkins, CRI Executive Director

The Culpeper Downtown Public Spaces Improvement Project will assist in CRI ‘s strategic plan to expand the physical and economic revitalization along entry corridors and secondary streets, maintain and increase the success of Downtown’s retail market, and build a strong community connection that establishes Downtown Culpeper as a destination for visitors, businesses, and residents.  CRI’s goal with the Downtown Improvement Grant is to partner with the Town of Culpeper and Culpeper Parking Authority, to install eight directional kiosks in downtown parking lots, and provide needed repair work and enhance downtown public space use with the addition of recreational chess and checker tables, and mural placement in the E.B. Wood Community Park.

Culpeper downtown business openings have substantially increased in the last two years with businesses opening at secondary street brick and motor locations. Our downtown is growing and CRI plans to assist this growth with wayfinding, public space repair work and enhancement of outdoor recreational activities.

“These grant programs allow us to provide targeted assistance to address the unique challenges facing Virginia’s small businesses, downtowns and historic districts,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “We look forward to seeing the economic opportunities and growth that these projects will inspire while preserving the unique culture and history that make these Virginia downtown areas consumer destinations and the best place to live, work and do business.”

As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. (CRI) is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center.

Through a partnership with the Town of Culpeper, Culpeper Renaissance Inc. was formed in 1987 and became a designated Main Street Program in 1988. Through this designation, the downtown revitalization process began, and the results have been remarkable – new businesses are opening, and investors are putting their money into once vacant buildings; tourists are visiting unique shops and restaurants, and residents are enjoying renewed community pride. As of 2022 1,164 jobs have been created and/or retained, 435 businesses have been created and/or retained, a total of $75,638,656 private investment and $6,609,306 public investment has been made in the downtown district, and 60,755 volunteer hours have been contributed to the downtown district through CRI’s program of work equating to a market value of $1,819,609 invested in the betterment of our community.

To learn more about Virginia Main Street, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/vms. For more information about Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. visit www.culpeperdowntown.com .

Elizabeth Burns
Author: Elizabeth Burns