$850K earmark: Jeff School needs Senate OK
You've seen photos of giant check presentations, but that shot wasn't available at a recent Jefferson School event because the $850,000 heralded for the African-American Heritage Cultural Center hasn't exactly landed in anyone's happy hands. The appropriation has passed a House of Representatives subcommittee, and while it's expected to pass the full House, it's still got to get through the U.S. Senate.
Despite that uncertainty, several dozen Jefferson School alumni and supporters showed up October 19 to celebrate with Congressman Tom Perriello, who has been pushing the appropriation.
Martin Burks, president of the private citizen-owned entity that's going to rehabilitate the school into a multi-purpose civic center, announced that some demolition will start in November and that a $3 million private donation has been made to the Heritage Center foundation. Anticipated occupancy date: spring 2012.
"Soon it will be a destination for people coming to Charlottesville," said Vice Mayor Holly Edwards.
Already, the City has committed nearly $6 million in economic development funding, and last month, City Council approved an option that will let the Jefferson School Community Partnership buy the historic school for $100,000, an amount the city is funding through another economic development pot.
The city will rent back the bulk of the space as a renovated Carver Recreation Center. According to an October 18 letter of intent, the City's rent will start at $32,442 a month for 33,133 square feet, a price of $11.75 per square foot.
PVCC president Frank Friedman and the YMCA's Dennis Blank, whose non-profit organizations plan to become future tenants of the so-called Jefferson School City Center, were among the several dozen attendees. Still needed, however, is an $11.5 million construction loan.
"We hope to have it wrapped up this week or next," says Partnership member Frank Stoner.
The celebratory event came just four days after Perriello wrecked his 2005 Ford Ranger (and was charged with an improper lane change). So how did the barnstorming incumbent get there? The old-fashioned way: he borrowed his brother's Mercury Mountaineer.