Fairfax County has taken another step toward giving designated revitalization zones some muscle in getting the job done.
The county recently unveiled its "Investing in Communities" (ICP) program, which gives priority to businesses located in the revitalization zones wishing to making improvements.
The ICP is designed to assist small businesses in obtaining funds to assist with renovations and acquiring or constructing property. Applicants can apply for financing from $10,000 to $500,000 for designated uses. Priority will be given to projects in the county's seven designated revitalization zones.
"The Investing in Communities program is a good incentive for property owners, if they want to improve their curb appeal. It's definitely a good thing for Springfield," said Nancy-jo Manney, director of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. She added that luring property owners to the area, and getting existing owners to spruce up their property, is one of the chamber's hopes and dreams.
"We have been trying for a long time to work with the county … to bring business to the area and to revitalize it, so that more businesses are interested in coming to the area," she said.
Approximately $2.4 million is available in funding through the ICP, in loan terms from low- to no-interest, guarantees, and interest write-downs.
"We will work with the business community to expand opportunity for all of our entrepreneurs," said Board of Supervisors chairman Gerry Connelly (D-At large).
The county also recently introduced the revitalization zone Web site (FCRevit.org), which provides detailed information about the revitalization program, as well as specific locations of available property within each of the zones.
In addition to Springfield, revitalization zones are located in Annandale, Baileys Crossroads and Seven Corners, Lake Anne, McLean, Merrifield and Richmond Highway.
"This program and this Web site show that the Board of Supervisors thinks small business is a priority for the county," said Supervisor Gerald Hyland (D-Mount Vernon).
The Web site also includes information for businesses wishing to apply as part of the ICP program and an application available for download.
Manney said she hopes for Springfield's sake that the program takes off.
"We need to get the word out that there's money out there, and then we need property owners to do their part — to say, 'It's my block,' and then that gets the ball rolling," she said.