MADISON HEIGHTS, Va. – Fifteen communities across the commonwealth will benefit from an $8.8 million grant. Of those communities, one in Central Virginia is set to receive 700-thousand dollars to help revitalize the area.
The Carlson’s have lived on Main Street in Old Town Madison Heights for 40 years. Drive down the road and you'll find vacant and unlivable homes, as well as retaining walls leaning into the sidewalks.
“Yes, it was gradually going downhill, downhill, [and] more abandoned houses,” Calvin Carlson said.
The couple have seen their street change for the worse and better.
"We're excited about it. We want to get some of the houses improved around here. [If] some of the houses get improved than other people [will] come in and improve other houses. So the whole neighborhood gets looking better. It will improve just the whole character of the neighborhood,” Carlson said.
Approved by the governor, Amherst County will receive $700,000 to work on the phase two part of its improvement project.
“So long as we demonstrate progress in spending that, which shouldn't be too difficult, they'll approve the remaining $500,000 the following year,” Dean Rodgers, Amherst County administrator, said.
The phase one project was completed a few years ago when several homes were rehabilitated or rebuilt.
In spring 2018, phase two will fix the failing retaining walls, and for safety the telephones poles will be moved farther away from the streets.
"We're just trying to help Old Town Madison Heights approve its appearance and begin a bit of renaissance,” Rodgers said.
County officials hope revitalizing this significant part of the neighborhood will help people regain pride in their community.
"When they get fixed up it looks a whole lot better. Like I said, other people will come in and fix up [their] houses. That's what really makes the money go so far. Is that other people will come in and fix up houses on their own,” Carlson said.