Growth guide gets a boost in Warrenton

Jul. 15, 2013 @ 06:52 PM

WARRENTON — A financial boost to downtown revitalization efforts is on the way.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced Warrenton will receive a $50,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to support those efforts.

“We’re organizing the downtown,” said Robert Davie, the town manager. “We’ve had kind of a hodgepodge. This will make it more uniform.”

In discussing the grant, Warrenton Mayor Walter Gardner said. “It’s for the downtown three-block business district. Preservation Warrenton provided $6,500 and the town provided $2,000, so the total budget for the project will be $58,500.”

The grant will be used to replace damaged trees and install park benches, trash receptacles and bicycle racks.

Of the trees lining Main Street, some have been broken down by weather. Others were cut to accommodate power lines, often with something less than esthetic results.

“Duke Energy has agreed to come in and take down those trees affected by power lines,” Gardner said.

New trees will provide a more consistent appearance.

Davie said a downtown design was developed by Tom Moss, a landscape architect from Enfield.

“We took it to Preservation Warrenton, and they approved $6,500 for matching funds.”

The town then authorized $2,000 in public funds.

The match was not required to receive the grant, Davie said, but the town officers felt a show of local support and collaboration would improve the chances of their application being viewed favorably, an assumption that seems to have been correct.

“It’s part of revitalization,” said Woody King, the mayor pro tem. “People who live here and work here are making it happen.”

In announcing the grant to Warrenton and another to the town of Wilson, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield stated, “These grants will provide much-needed financial assistance for projects that will help drive the economic development and revitalization of these downtown districts.”

The Rural Business Enterprise Grant program is designed to promote economic development for businesses in under served rural communities.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.