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Fredericksburg EDA

Fredericksburg EDA to consult with community groups, develop proposals regarding homelessness

by | Jul 8, 2024 | ALLFFP, Fredericksburg, Government

The Fredericksburg Economic Development Authority is no longer seeking the transfer of $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds from the city to address homelessness initiatives.  

During a June 25 city council work session, councilors and city staff reviewed and discussed a letter from EDA chair Beth Black proposing a “three-pronged approach,” which included a proposal to “optimize interest” from the ARPA funds, which the city received in 2021.  

“It’s important to note that we’re not saying that we’re going to go out and spend those funds,” Black said during the work session. “You’re not making any money on that money. I can, as your EDA.” 

However, at Monday’s EDA meeting, Black revealed that she met subsequently with City Manager Tim Baroody, who informed her that the city “feels comfortable with the interest they’re receiving, so we don’t have to worry about [the ARPA funds].” 

Instead, proposed Black, the EDA could return to city council Tuesday to advocate for matching funds and enlist the Fredericksburg Regional Continuum of Care, a federally mandated local planning body, to help develop a request for proposal (RFP) regarding homelessness initiatives in the city.  

“I think we need to put up some money and invite groups to tell us what we could do with the money because it’s so outside our area of expertise,” Black said. “We’ve got to focus on our lane but our lane only.” 

During the discussion that followed, two EDA members voiced hesitancy with committing EDA funds or asking for a match without a quantifiable plan. EDA member Joel Griffin also expressed concerns about potential redundancy regarding the group’s efforts.

“I would ask that we be cautious about trying to solve problems that other organizations within our community are already dealing with and already are experts on,” Griffin said. 

Ultimately, the only motion that arose authorized Black to reach out to “community partners” to find out what would be required to facilitate the first prong of the EDA plan, namely “immediate crisis response.” Immediately following the motion, the EDA formed a homelessness subcommittee, with Black and Anita Crossfield, a downtown business owner, comprising the group.  

EDA to advocate for bike/pedestrian lane on Falmouth Bridge  

During her recent meeting with Baroody, Black said she became aware that the city has been involved in efforts to add a pedestrian and/or bike lane to Falmouth Bridge since at least 2010.  

Currently, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) plans to repair the bridge, which spans the Rappahannock River from southern Stafford County to Fredericksburg on Route 1, with construction beginning in 2029. 

“Right now, there are no plans for adding a bike or pedestrian lane,” Black said. “It would be replaced as-is.” 

In a bid to alter those plans, Black proposed enlisting the Stafford EDA and writing state delegates and federal legislators to inform them of the need for a crossing. VDOT would be included on those communications.  

The EDA voted unanimously to empower Black to reach out and begin that process.  

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