Petersburg fails to apply for grant to help with blight

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — For the past few years, the City of Petersburg has gotten a grant to help demolish run-down properties. However, this year the city didn’t apply for the grant.

They city tells 8News that they communicated with the wrong Virginia National Guard unit. According to a city spokesperson, personnel within that unit said no money was available, so city leaders didn’t apply for the Operation Renew Grant. If the city had contacted the proper unit, the city would have been in the running for that grant money. The Operation Renew Grant is usually used to demolish homes that are known to be havens for drug activity.

With the military’s help, demolishing each property could cost as little as $300, but without the military’s heavy duty equipment, that cost spikes to at least $5,000 per property because the city would have to hire a contractor.

In a statement, the Virginia National Guard said:

“We regret if there was any confusion that led to the City of Petersburg not submitting a request for 2015. The Virginia National Guard would consider a request for 2016.”

The city is getting an early jump on their grant for next year. City spokesperson Jay Ell Alexander told 8News that officials plan to submit the application by the end of this week.

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