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Fries transferring mill site to development authority

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

FRIES — Town council has taken the final two steps to secure a $700,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Council members voted Nov. 4 to transfer the old mill property to the Blue Ridge Crossroads Economic Development Authority.

Transferring the land had caused some concern among citizens in Fries, as well as a couple of council members.

Council Member Frankie Fortner noted during council's meeting in October that it needed to be made clear that if the property were not developed, it would revert back to the town.

Fries Town Manager Brian Reed assured council that it was clearly stated in the agreement to transfer the property.

“I just want the citizens to know that we are not just giving [the land] away,” said Fortner.

Mayor Mike Spears added that, once the land was officially transferred, Fries was done with the project at the site and that BRCEDA and KW Poore and Associates of Richmond would be handling the property.

Craig Wilson of KW Poore and Associates will be working with the town directly and attended the October meeting.

Wilson said he will assist with particular research to determine what kinds of things may happen on the site.

“We will be putting together a developers package to mail out near the first of the year to potential developers,” he told council last month. “I'm looking forward to it... it is very exciting.”

Also during this month's meeting, council voted to approve the Program Income Plan for the grant monies.

Reed told council that the agreement stipulated that the town must use any funds generated from the mill site for further community development — including downtown revitalization, housing projects and things related to the town's master plan.