Williamsburg’s Economic Development Authority approved two motions during a meeting Wednesday — and both have the potential to assist local business owners.
At Wednesday’s EDA meeting, board members voted unanimously in favor of formalizing their plans to join the Greater Williamsburg Partnership. The GWP will be governed by a Board of Directors that includes EDA directors, members from the City of Williamsburg and York and James City Counties.
According to a memo from the EDA to Williamsburg’s City Council, “The GWP combines the assets of the three jurisdictions to recruit and stimulate new enterprises and expand existing businesses to grow and diversify the regional economic base.”
Economic Development Director Michele Mixner Dewitt said that the GWP has already been approved by the EDA of James City County. York County’s EDA will vote on the partnership in two weeks.
“We’ve been operating as a group of three EDAs, and this memorandum says that we officially turn that responsibility over to the Greater Williamsburg Partnership,” said Dewitt. According to a meeting handout, the GWP will provide an overview to the Williamsburg City Council at a work session this coming winter.
Williamsburg’s EDA also passed a motion for the city council to transfer $50,000 to the EDA in order to administer the Small Business Improvement Grant Program. According to reference material provided at the meeting, the program is designed to encourage businesses to operate within the Northeast Triangle of Williamsburg, most notably along Capitol Landing Road.
“It’s a package of incentives to attract hospitality and tourism to that area of the city,” said Dewitt. “We’re just not seeing much investment there along Capitol Landing Road.”
The program allows the EDA to provide grants that cover up to 50 percent of the costs of qualified improvements, according to the reference material. The maximum grant is $10,000 for each property, and new and existing businesses within the Northeast Triangle are eligible to apply. The program will expire on June 30, 2018.
“This is a nice way for the city to say, ‘we haven’t forgotten you,’” said EDA Chair Adam Steely.
More information about the program can be found by contacting the Williamsburg EDA at (757) 220-6104 and EDA@Williamsburgva.gov.