In Kilmarnock, improvement funds are flowing in and out. The town was awarded $2.5 million in grants and $6 million in loans from the USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funds will be used to make replacements and upgrades at Kilmarnock’s waste water treatment plant that improve its efficiency and reliability.

“With the current system nearly 25 years old, Kilmarnock should be in replacement mode,” explained town manager Susan Cockrell. “For example, although the UV disinfection system is still working and doing its job, it’s older technology that’s not supported, and should be upgraded before we are in crisis mode,” she continued.  

To meet the USDA requirements, Kilmarnock is required to have sewer rates that are at least 1.5% of the median household income. But the town was just shy of that at 1.2% so it implemented a $10 per cycle increase effective July 1, which Cockrell said should get the rates close to what’s needed.

This project is estimated to cost nearly $9.3 million, and the town absolutely would not be able to afford it without the USDA’s financial aid package.

Engineering work is slated to begin soon and the project is expected to be complete in late 2023.

Kilmarnock offering refreshment funds

After a rough year dealing with the pandemic, Kilmarnock decided to launch the Kilmarnock Façade Refreshment Program, a 50-50 grant to enhance curb appeal and promote improvements that have a strong visual impact from the street.

Everyone has felt a need to refresh with new visitors in town and and the ability to get more Providing the support for our businesses to do that and assisting with their efforts to attract customers is a win/win idea, said Cockrell.

The program has been well-received, according to Jeff Szyperski Jr. of the downtown consultancy ReThink Main Street. By early July, the town had applications for $20,000, and has approved 16 projects. So, it extended the deadline for grant applications to July 31.

“We want to encourage others in town to take part in this opportunity to refresh their exteriors so we can continue to build on the momentum that it has created along Main Street and beyond,” said Szyperski.

At this point, Kilmarnock doesn’t have a hard limit for how much it’s willing to spend on this program. “We are hoping to accommodate all applications that are in by July 31,” said Cockrell.

The grants can be used for a range of exterior improvements, including landscaping projects. Thus far, applicants have applied for funding to get awnings, window decals and signage.

Exterior painting is a popular choice, said Cockrell. Kilmarnock will be very colorful in the coming months, she added.

Businesses can apply for a grant at