The Lynchburg Economic Development Authority and a private developer are renovating a former single-story A&P grocery store into a four-story mixture of uses, with help from a state grant. Photo by Matt Busse.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Lynchburg, Martinsville revitalization projects get $500,000 each

Two projects to renovate downtown buildings into new residential and commercial space in Lynchburg and Martinsville will each get a $500,000 grant, the governor’s office announced Friday.

In Lynchburg, the city’s Economic Development Authority, through a private developer, will turn a former single-story A&P Grocery store at 400 12th St. into a four-story, mixed-use building, according to a news release from Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office.

The renovation will create a ground-floor commercial space with 10,000 square feet of retail space plus 28 apartments, from studios to three-bedroom units, above. Funding will go towards renovating and remodeling the ground floor for a committed food and beverage operator, according to the release.

In Martinsville, the city government, through a private developer, will renovate a circa-1920s former Woolworth’s building at 16-18 E. Church St. into housing and retail space in the Uptown Martinsville district.

The building, which has been vacant since 1996, will be updated to include six apartments, 4,000 square feet of retail space and 600 square feet of office space, according to the news release.

The release said the $1 million total in grants are from the pilot program Mixed Use on Main Street, a joint effort between the Industrial Revitalization Fund and Virginia Main Street programs, both administered through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development “to support the revitalization of vacant or underutilized downtown spaces to create opportunities for commercial development and housing units in communities that are active participants in VMS.”

“Downtowns are the heart and soul of so many communities across the Commonwealth, and through these investments, we will transform derelict structures into vibrant businesses and create new housing opportunities,” Youngkin said in the release. “Strong infrastructure is key to any successful economic strategy, and this program is designed to keep those downtown districts thriving and catalyze both economic development and community pride.”  

The Mixed Use on Main Street program offers awards up to $500,000 for the rehabilitation of mixed-use buildings. Projects must include the creation or preservation of housing and awards can be grants or loans. For more information, visit

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Virginia announces availability of $103 million in flood preparedness grants and loans

Two programs designed to help communities prepare for floods and improve their resilience to funding are now open for applications, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation has announced.

Together two programs are offering a total of $103 million for projects across the state, according to a news release from DCR.

The Resilient Virginia Revolving Fund, which was established last year as a self-sustaining program to aid communities and property owners impacted by flooding, is offering up to $18.5 million in grants and loans in its first grant round. Applications are due by midnight Dec.12.

Information about the award categories and amounts, as well as training materials and other resources, are at

The Community Flood Preparedness Fund, which is now in its fourth round, is offering $85 million in grants and loans to address flood risk. Applications are due by midnight Nov. 12.

The fund is designed to help localities increase their flood resilience and execute flood protection projects.

Information about the fund, including eligibility rules and application procedures, are at

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Hollins receives nearly $1 million grant to support women in STEM

Hollins University has been awarded a grant of $999,998 from the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program to educate the next generation of diverse, highly skilled leaders in the STEM workforce.

Grant funds will support the development and implementation of Hollins’ Artemis Scholarship Program for Women in STEM, according to a news release from the university.

The scholarship program is for undergraduates majoring in biology, environmental science, chemistry and mathematics. The grant will be used primarily to provide Artemis scholars with a full scholarship to Hollins, according to Mary Jane Carmichael, an assistant professor of biology and environmental science and the principal investigator for the initiative.

The first scholarships will be awarded to students in the 2024-25 academic year. Teachers, guidance counselors and potential students who are interested in the program can email Carmichael at for more information.

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Blacksburg community forum examines ranked-choice voting

An Oct. 4 community forum in Blacksburg will explore the issue of ranked-choice voting.

The forum is sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Virginia Tech’s Lifelong Learning Institute and the the Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County branch of the NAACP.

It will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in Blacksburg’s town council chambers. It’s free and open to the public.

Featured speakers are Liz White, executive director of UpVote Virginia, and Caitlin Jewitt, assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech.

With ranked-choice voting, voters rank all candidates in an election rather than choosing one. The Democratic primary this spring in Arlington was the first publicly run ranked-choice voting election in Virginia.