NORFOLK, Va. — U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) stopped in Norfolk Monday morning to present a $1.6 million check to address social inequity and economic disparities caused by past transportation infrastructure decisions.
The money is part of "Norfolk I-264 Reconnecting Communities," which will help reconnect and restore communities affected by the construction of Interstate 264 in the 1950s.
“A community that was about 82% living in poverty. 63% without access to a car,” Sen. Warner said.
Leaders in the room said this is an opportunity to do things that have yet to be done for the neighborhood.
READ MORE | Reconnecting Communities: Federal grant to help reunite Norfolk communities divided by I-264
It's one of 45 projects across the country that are receiving grant awards as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Warner presented the check at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, then participated in a roundtable discussion on the city's St. Paul’s Project and redesign efforts.
Susan Perry, the director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, said they have multiple requests in for grant funding for the project including supplemental funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a grant from Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Several leaders were in the room for that discussion. They hope to see the project will provide an economic boost and create small business inclusion. They also hope it will address food insecurity and access to affordable broadband. Councilwoman Danica Royster said as city officials move the project forward, they still need help from community members.
“We need the pipeline of the people and I believe a lot of us in here know a lot of people," Royster said. "Ultimately, those people can help impact communities that are here.”