FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Justin-Mychal White
Communications Writer, Phone: 804-257-5856 (O)
RICHMOND, VA—Virginia Union University President and CEO, Dr. Hakim Lucas, alongside Mayor Levar Stoney and Governor Ralph Northam today announced grant in the amount of $1,440,000 to go toward the city’s Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF). The 1.4 million dollars will be distributed amongst the towns of Bedford and St. Paul, and the cities of Covington and Richmond, but more specifically, Virginia Union University.
“I am pleased that Gov. Northam and Mayor Stoney saw the importance of our vision here at Virginia Union,” said Dr. Lucas. A huge piece of Virginia’s history rest right here on our campus and this grant will continue the preservation of such history while revitalizing our campus and helping restore Industrial Hall.”
The IRF grants provide gap financing for construction projects aligned with local and regional economic development strategies, primarily in distressed communities. Governor Northam made the announcement at Virginia Union University, where IRF funding will support a project to redevelop the historic Industrial Hall building into a Center for African American History and Culture.
“The Industrial Revitalization Fund continues to be an important resource for redeveloping deteriorated structures across the Commonwealth and encouraging the public and private sectors to work together to increase economic and community development,” said Governor Northam. “With these grants, we are investing in projects that will transform older, vacant buildings, bringing bring new life and purpose to their communities and spurring new jobs and positive growth across our Commonwealth.”
Projects were reviewed and evaluated competitively, with an emphasis on those with a high level of blight, identification of impediments to economic development efforts, alignment with regional or local strategies, availability of matching resources, the level of community distress where the property is located, and an identified and feasible end use. Eleven applications totaling more than $6.1 million in funding were received.
“The funded projects are transforming deteriorated buildings that stand as a significant deterrent for future economic opportunity in the surrounding areas and regions,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Through the IRF grants, we are investing funds into the vibrancy of these communities through impactful projects, and we are encouraging strategic public-private collaboration that will encourage new economic and community development in the four communities.”
Since 2012, the IRF program has funded 29 projects that have revitalized vacant, blighted buildings. These projects have generated more than $81 million in other public and private investment, and resulted in the creation of more than 415 jobs across the Commonwealth.
About VUU: Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts urban institution of higher education and center of excellence for the preparation of students and the development of leaders for tomorrow’s world. It was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. Virginia Union University offers a broad range of educational opportunities that advances liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences. Visit https://www.vuu.edu/ for more information.