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Introduction and Plan Overview
The following materials summarize the results of a revitalization planning process undertaken for the downtown area of the Town of Halifax, Virginia in 2002 and 2003. The plan was prepared through a highly interactive public process involving Town of Halifax and Halifax County staff and elected officials, the Town of Halifax Village Business Association, an active Downtown Improvement Committee, the Southside Planning District and consultant facilitators. Several well-attended public meetings as well as numerous newspaper articles served to both inform and involve the general populace of the community. The following public meetings were held during the preparation of this plan:
- November 6, 2002 Public Information Meeting and Merchants Meeting
- December 11, 2002 Public Hearing and Merchants Meeting
The revitalization plan is based upon several ongoing community initiatives and past plans, including:
- "Downtown Preservation Sketchbook" prepared by Johnson, Johnson & Roy/Inc. in June 1974
- Downtown Business and Consumer Surveys in July 2002
- Greenway and Pedestrian Trail Concept Designs
- Coordination with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the Association for Preservation of Virginia Antiquities
- Issue and Condition Inventories of the Downtown Area
Overall Project Goals
The primary goals of the community in preparing this plan are to provide economic opportunity for residents and businesses and to improve the quality of life for the citizens, not only in an economic sense, but also by providing a more attractive environment and places for public gatherings and interaction. This plan is intended to serve as a vision for the future of the downtown Halifax area and as guidance for phased funding, design and improvements to both the public infrastructure and the facades, parking and pedestrian access for businesses in the downtown area.
There have been numerous other added benefits for the community in the preparation of this plan. These include the basis for the establishment of a "Village" identity for the downtown and for the overall Town of Halifax as well setting the groundwork for a number of other initiatives. These include:
Business Incentive Package. The Town has some vacant space, most notably the former grocery store site on the east side of Main Street south of the core business area. Community and business leaders have considered methods for attracting businesses to the Town. This plan provides materials that outline the community vision for the future and that illustrate the commitment of the community to future economic growth and vitality. These materials may be developed into an incentive package describing opportunities within the Town for businesses to relocate.
Historic Inventory Support. The plan and the analysis materials generated provide support for the potential application for a historic district in the downtown area.
Greenways Planning and Implementation. The plan provides an initial outline of a Town greenways system that would connect to the downtown area, providing both pedestrian access for residents to the downtown and an attraction for visitors to the area. The maps included in this plan provide a basis for implementation funding and the development of use agreements.
Background and Support for Grant Applications. A primary focus of the preparation of this plan has been to provide the materials and study necessary for application for CDBG grant funding and for TEA21 grant funding for implementation. In addition, the plan provides materials to support other types of grant funding that may become available, and also provides budget and phasing information to assist the Town and the County of Halifax in establishing potential local share funding through the Town's Capital Improvement Plan and other funding sources.
History and Setting
Formed in 1752 from Lunenburg County, Halifax County is the fourth largest County in Virginia, encompassing nearly 825 square miles. Halifax County is an historic tobacco and textile industrial area of south central Virginia consisting of generally flat or gently rolling land located along the Dan and Banister Rivers. The Town of Halifax, originally called Banister, became the County seat in 1792, and is located 113 miles southwest of Richmond and 80 miles northwest of Raleigh.
Main Street from the intersection of Houston Street to the intersection of Cemetery Street serves as the core economic hub of the Town of Halifax. This area features late 19th and 20th century storefront buildings, and is anchored by a landmark early 19th century County Courthouse.
The early community most likely developed as a result of its position as the center of County government, nevertheless, Halifax has remained a small comfortable village.