Onancock Council Approves Uses for American Rescue Plan Funds

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A Virginia Main Street sign stands at the entrance to Onancock. Photo by Carol Vaughn.

By Carol Vaughn —

The Onancock Town Council will continue discussing the town’s comprehensive plan update at its next meeting, after some members at the Sept. 27 meeting said they want to hear more from their colleagues before approving the plan.
Mayor Fletcher Fosque encouraged council members to submit questions about the plan to the town manager beforehand for discussion at the October meeting.
“We want to get this going,” he said.
A joint public hearing with the planning commission about the plan was held in August.
The council continued discussing proposed uses for around $1.25 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds coming to Onancock, after a Sept. 20 work session that was devoted to the topic.
The council at that session discussed setting aside $100,000 of the money for the Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence. ESCADV is headquartered in Onancock and recently purchased the former G.F. Horne property, also in Onancock, with plans to renovate it and expand services.
Among additional uses proposed for the funds are:
Police department generator, $50,000
Water system GIS, $100,000
Police department and public restroom renovations, $295,000
Dog park, $25,000
Northeast park, $35,000
Removal of the derelict wood shop at HOS, $8,000
Water tower paint and seal, $165,000
Hypo tank for water system, $8,000
Security at water tower, $10,000
Electricity at water tower, $5,000
Air conditioning upstairs at the town hall, $20,000
Matching grant for downtown business facade improvements, $90,000
Sunset park, $40,000
Touchless faucets at the Little League complex, $3,500
Drainage ditch cleanout, $7,500
Water system valve isolation, $65,000
Duckbill at the wharf, $10,000
Clean out/dredge under floating docks, $90,000
Downtown aesthetic improvements, $35,000
Town square repairs $8,500
Walking path at Little League complex, $20,000
Stormwater management, $65,932.
The council voted to adopt the plan and gave Town Manager Matt Spuck approval to start working on the project list, with costs not to exceed what is listed for each project.
“This is going to be the project list that I’m working on and then I’ll come back each month” to update the council on the projects, Spuck said.
The funds must be spent by the end of 2026.
The town has three applications pending for permits for homestay, or short-term rental, businesses, according to Spuck. The planning commission is continuing to discuss the homestay policy, after residents complained about noise and about the businesses changing the character of neighborhoods. The council put a moratorium on approving any additional short-term rentals until the planning commission makes its recommendation and council decides on the policy.
Fosque in his report said a new Virginia Main Street sign has been installed at the town entrance. Onancock was named a Virginia Main Street community in September 2020.