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Pulaski to use grant money to renovate storefronts, revitalize downtown

The town just received a $700,000 community development grant.

PULASKI, Va. – Main Street storefronts in downtown Pulaski may soon get a face-lift, thanks to a nearly $700,000 state community development grant. 

"Southwest has seen a lot of change with coal going out and textiles going out, so these small communities like Pulaski, we're having to reinvent ourselves. If it means attracting visitors that want to settle and stay with us, then that's how we're going to make it work," said Nichole Hair, Pulaski deputy town manager.

The town applied for the grant after hearing that residents wanted more recreation-based businesses downtown, like breweries and restaurants.

"With this re-energizing that's going on downtown, we're hoping to attract new businesses. We've heard from our citizens through surveys as part of this grant, they want to have destinations," said Hair. 

One such destination is Blue Ridge Fudge Lady on Main Street. Robin Burdette opened the store about a year ago, and while business has been good so far, she is hoping storefront renovations mixed with street improvements will be downtown Pulaski's perfect recipe for success. 

"I think it's great that we clean up Main Street and refurb some of these buildings. That gets more people down here to visit. It also gets more people to bring their businesses here," said Burdette. 

At this point, 15 downtown property owners have committed to matching town funds and improving their storefronts.

Community development grants were also awarded to Rockbridge County, Amherst County and the city of Galax.