John Redding

John Redding

The great news this week is the winning of a revitalization grant from the Community Development Block Grants of Virginia. The grant provides $700,000 toward improvements to our downtown commercial district. Funds will be used to perform some public area improvements and as a matching incentive for property owners to upgrade their business facades.

One of the determinants in winning the grant was the commitment to participate by the great majority of downtown establishments. Congratulations to downtown merchants and service providers. May their efforts pay dividends to their bottom line and to all of us.

I was on the grant application committee, but the success of the effort should be given primarily to Town Manager Gary Shanaberger and contracted consultant, Craig Wilson of Summit Design and Engineering Services. Several other local business owners and professionals were part of the committee.

Recently, I was asked to join the United Way of Central Virginia 2019 Campaign Cabinet. Although I felt it was important to accept the position in order to provide representation for Appomattox, I was not without reservations. Over the years, I had accumulated a negative view of charities with high administrative costs, and I had identified United Way as one such organization. Fortunately, my concerns were unfounded.

United Way of Central Virginia (I do not know about other United Way organizations) is supported by 27 Corporate Keystone Partners that fund the administrative costs so that 100 percent of what is donated in their campaigns goes to provide local assistance. Among those partners are Williams, BB&T and Bank of the James.

Another positive discovery about the organization is that I am not alone in my interest in Appomattox. This year’s chairman is Appomattox native Dustin Reynolds, who currently resides in Campbell County.

Plan on joining United Way of Central Virginia at two events scheduled for Appomattox. On Friday, Sept. 20, there will be a local “Campaign Kick-off” at Courtland Festival Park at noon. On Friday, Oct. 11, Williams will sponsor a golf tournament at Falling River Country Club with all sponsorship donations matched 100 percent by Williams. Watch for more details about both in the near future.

To paraphrase an Uncle Sam recruiting approach, your local Chamber of Commerce needs YOU. We need board members to meet periodically to plan the strategic direction of the organization and to assist in fundraising and the organization of our activities. At a somewhat less involved level, we need volunteers to help at our music events, our Hot Chocolate Run and possibly some other events. Such assistance includes set-up, registration/entry gate, beverage service and clean-up. Contact me or Whitney at our office and get involved.

On Sept. 14, the Chamber is holding its second music event of the season. The music group Bo-Zac, will perform at Courtland Festival Park at 6 p.m. Given the success of Bike Night on Aug. 3, we expect a large crowd. The Appomattox County Historical Society will offer food items. Plan to come out and enjoy the music, have dinner and enjoy the fellowship of the evening or volunteer to help us hold the event.

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