RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced that Scott County had been awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for a water project in the Blackgum community, where several homes have been without water for more than a year.
Six rural localities received funding to support COVID-19 response, housing rehabilitation, and water and sewer improvements across the state. Scott County, along with the Scott County Public Service Authority, will receive funding to extend public water service to Blackgum residents, creating a safe, reliable water source for nearly 20 households.
“Supporting housing, infrastructure, and other immediate needs of our rural communities is more important now than it has ever been,” Northam said in a press release. “This funding supports projects that will enable these six localities to continue delivering essential services to Virginians during the pandemic and help build a stronger future for our commonwealth.”
About the grants
More than $3.8 million worth of CDBG was awarded to the counties of Montgomery, Scott and Southampton, the towns of Appomattox and Independence, and the city of Norton. Funds will benefit more than 1,400 low- to moderate-income Virginians throughout the six communities.
The federally funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development since 1982 and annually receives approximately $18.5 million to distribute to small cities, counties and towns. Most CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process, with a goal of benefiting low- and moderate-income households, improving housing and infrastructure, and addressing an urgent community need.
“These grants fund six vastly different projects, all targeted to improve the quality of life for those who live and work in these communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “One of CDBG’s great advantages is its flexibility to support a wide range of projects, and it is an important tool in solving issues caused or exacerbated by COVID-19.”
About the project
The Blackgum water project was awarded $313,500 from a CDBG Community Improvement Grant. The project will serve 19 households and 31 low- to moderate-income individuals, who have been relying on reservoir water and bottled water since November 2019.
During its August 2020 meeting, the Scott County Board of Supervisors heard from four residents of the Blackgum Lane area about their lack of water access. A week after that meeting, the county declared a local emergency for the community in an effort to bring quicker attention to the problem.
Two months later, the BOS approved a resolution supporting the CDBG application. Now that the funding has been awarded, BOS members…