Norton is in the first phases of planning for a potential housing and infrastructure improvement project in the city’s Southside community.

About 25 residents turned out Aug. 15 for a community meeting to measure interest in a project, City Manager Fred Ramey explained in a Saturday email. “I was very impressed with the turnout and interest of the residents.”

In 2017, the city completed an assessment that identified neighborhoods “for concentrated improvement efforts with an emphasis on addressing housing needs,” Ramey noted. Recently, Norton applied for a Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development planning grant aimed at focusing on a specific neighborhood. Depending on the results of initial study, the city could apply for a larger comprehensive community improvement grant, he explained.

Following last week’s meeting, Ramey noted, what will come next is completing surveys of residents and assessing infrastructure and housing needs. A project management team will be formed and will work with consultants to review the survey and assessment results to determine whether the neighborhood would qualify for a potential grant.

If so, the team will establish what neighborhood priorities could be addressed with grant funds.

The goal will be to complete the planning process before the next grant application period in early 2020, according to Ramey.

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