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Board adopts resolution to advance Newsoms project

The Southampton County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously July 27 to adopt a resolution that helps the county complete required pre-contract activities and execute the grant agreement that will allow Phase 1 of the Newsoms Housing and Drainage Improvement Project to move forward.

Michael Johnson

Southampton County Administrator Michael Johnson previously noted that Gov. Ralph Northam announced Feb. 11 the approval of grant funding that will help advance the Newsoms project.

“The source of funding for that is coming through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development in the form of a Community Development Block Grant,” Johnson said, adding that the grant is for more than $1.2 million. “What the project will include is the rehabilitation of seven houses, substantial reconstruction of two additional houses, demolition of one blighted structure and then major improvements to the storm drainage system throughout the Thomaston Road neighborhood and the Town of Newsoms.”

In the report found within the board’s July 27 meeting packet, Johnson stated that the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) provided the county with a 60-day extension, through Aug. 16, to complete all the required pre-contract activities before executing the grant agreement.

He wrote that the required facilitated management session was completed by the county’s management team on July 13. The environmental review objection period expired on July 6 and Summit Engineers is compiling the Environmental Review Record.

“As you recall, the board adopted 10 plans and/or policies at the May 25 meeting in

order to meet federal requirements,” he stated. “In addition to those federal requirements, there are several other matters which require board approval before we can enter into contract with DHCD.”

He stated that the documents, provided for board consideration and approval, included The Project Management Plan; bylaws for the local Housing Rehabilitation Advisory Board; The Housing Rehabilitation Program Design; The Program Income Plan; The Project Timeline; and The Project Budget.

The resolution incorporated approval of those documents and further authorized Johnson to execute the contract and initiate the project.

“We certainly have been working on this for a long time, so anybody have any questions about it?” Jerusalem District Supervisor and Board Chair Dr. Alan W. Edwards said in reference to the project during the July 27 meeting.

There was no discussion prior to the vote, for which Newsoms District Supervisor Lynda T. Updike made the motion.

Newsoms Mayor Vanless D. Worrell previously expressed his excitement for what the incoming funding will do for the town, both now and in the future.

“It’s going to have a tremendous impact on our population — those that are here and those that might decide to move here,” he said.