By Randy Arrington
LURAY, March 16 — After nearly a quarter century of service to the community, Ruffner Plaza will soon be getting a much-needed facelift thanks to a grant from a national wireless service provider aimed at helping rural America.
More than 100 people gathered along the Hawksbill Creek at Ruffner Plaza on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the award of a $50,000 Hometown Grant from T-Mobile to the Hawksbill Greenway Foundation and the Town of Luray.
“Today is a wonderful example of wonderful things happening in Luray,” Foundation President Bill Dudley told the crowd. “To T-Mobile we say thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The cash infusion will help revitalize Ruffner Plaza — a pocket park along the Luray-Hawksbill Greenway in the heart of downtown Luray. The money will help replace concrete for better accessibility and additional safety, add lighting and electrical outlets, install a shade structure, and replace safety bollards around the plaza’s parking lot, according to a press release issued by the company.
“This is a fantastic project,” Luray’s superintendent of Parks and Recreation Jen Jenkins said. “Ruffner Plaza has provided countless hours of enjoyment and relaxation for our greenway trail users and those that come out for our events. We’re so very grateful for this opportunity to partner with T-Mobile on this.”
During this $1 million round of Hometown Grants, 25 small towns and rural communities across the country will each receive a T‑Mobile Hometown Grant up to $50,000 for community development projects spanning technology, education, environment and health care.
Summer Williams of Convergence Grants Consulting in Luray prepared the successful grant application for the greenway foundation that brought in $50,000 for the upgrades to Ruffner Plaza, as well as previously doing pro bono work for the foundation that secured a $25,000 grant for a feasibility study on the half-mile expansion of the greenway to Yagers Spring.
“T-Mobile wants to be part of the community,” Rural Marketing Manager Rico Roscigno told the crowd at Ruffner Plaza on Thursday. “We’re invested in helping communities across America thrive. That’s why we’re committing $25 million to small town grants over the next five years — and it starts with you. These efforts underscore T-Mobile’s commitment to rural America.”
Hometown Grants were awarded in 18 different states. Luray was the only recipient in Virginia, with only 6 percent of the more than 400 applicants nationwide receiving funds.
“The Town of Luray and the Hawksbill Greenway Foundation are honored to have been selected as a T-Mobile Hometown Grant recipient,” Luray Mayor Jerry Dofflemyer and Dudley said in a joint statement. “Partnerships like this will help allow us to continue to improve Ruffner Plaza and all our parks so that they continue to be a welcoming place for residents and visitors alike. On behalf of Luray, thank you to T-Mobile for this award and assisting small towns throughout the country.”
T-Mobile’s full list of nationwide recipients may be viewed at:
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