Virginia DHCD

Affiliate Grant

DHCD Affiliate Grants are designed to assist organizations and communities in achieving their downtown revitalization goals. Downtown Colonial Beach, Inc. is applying for the categories: market studies and design projects.

Application Status

Date Submitted: March 16, 2020

Grant Awarded: August 12, 2020

Project Completion Date: May 31, 2021

Grant Application Project Description

Downtown Colonial Beach Inc., (DCB), an Affiliate with the Virginia Main Street Network since 2015, will create a visual representation of the Colonial Beach (CB) downtown as it would look revitalized through preservation-based development. This would be presented in a marketing brochure targeted to attract investors and developers with preservation and/or Main Street experience to undertake such development. DCB is seeking a $7,000 award for this project to be matched by $3500 from DCB and over $10,000 of in-kind contributions.

The goal of the Colonial Beach Design and Marketing Project is to provide design inspiration and a persuasive case for investment in the downtown of Colonial Beach. We believe retaining the unique character of this well situated historic beach resort, halfway between Washington, DC and Richmond, will pay-off for investors and contribute to the prosperity of the Colonial Beach community, while enhancing tourism throughout Virginia's Northern Neck as well.

The coverage area for this project is the downtown historic commercial district (See attached National Historic District Boundary Map), the area set for designation by June 2021.

The need is urgent because multiple town-owned properties, including historic buildings and vacant lots, are advertised for sale by the town government now, as are privately-owned historic properties, and lots. The historic properties are deteriorating and at risk of demolition if aggressive efforts are not made to attract investment for restoration and adaptive reuse. The project’s purpose is to attract desirable investors to restore the remaining historic properties and generate new structures that complement the town’s historic character. Without this project, random development is likely to occur, further diluting the downtown’s historic character.

The Work Plan includes a one-day workshop in which representatives from the local government and town Non-Governmental Organizations’ Council will identify community aspirations for the downtown derived from pre-existing research and planning documents. These include the town’s 2009-2029 Comprehensive Plan, the 2012 Business District Revitalization Plan, a 2017 Economic Study prepared by the Downtown Colonial Beach Economic Revitalization Committee, citizen surveys and the vision statement, goals and objectives (Attached) from the pending 2020 Comprehensive Plan. All these documents or links to them can be found at our website, www.downtowncolonialbeach.org. Town Council Member, architect, designer, and community planner Robin Schick will facilitate identification of common design elements for the streetscape such as light poles and benches. Public Works Director, Robert Murphy, will advise on infrastructure issues.

Recommendations from this workshop will be passed to a designer with the skills needed to transform these recommendations into designs of restored buildings and complementary in-fill development rendered within streetscape views of major downtown blocks. This work would culminate in the designer preparing a marketing brochure upon approval of the Project Management Team. A professional public relations firm would produce the brochure's market analysis and text.

The Project Management Team will set milestones, regularly review progress on the design work, and present progress reports to the Town Council monthly.

The design brochure hard copy and digital versions will be disseminated to lists of Main Street developers and Historic Trades contractors with a cover letter from DCB explaining its purpose and inviting them to Colonial Beach for an Open House and our annual Osprey Festival in early April. Brochures will also be given to all local real estate firms in printed and digital form, and posted on the DCB, Town Government and marketing websites.