State gives Isle of Wight preservation grant

Published 7:43 am Wednesday, December 31, 2008

ISLE OF WIGHT—The county is one of 10 localities awarded money from a state grant for farmland preservation, according to an announcement Tuesday by Gov. Tim Kaine.

The county will receive $49,900 in what is the second round of state matching funds.

Nine other localities received the same amount, and one locality received $1,000. In the first round, Isle of Wight had received approximately $400,000 in matching funds.

Rachel Chieppa, rural development manager for the county’s Department of Economic Development, said the county was aware that the funds from the second round would be significantly smaller than last time.

Grant funds will be put toward the county’s Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements program, or PACE.

Through this program, the county purchases the developments rights on farmland from farmers who have applied and been selected through a long vetting process. The county had more than $2 million committed to PACE and potentially available for state matching during application in the first round.

“We were at the top tier of funding (in both rounds) because we have a strong commitment to fund our local program,” said Chieppa.