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Chase City aims to fix blighted corner
SoVaNow.com / June 11, 2014The blight that marks the corner of Second and Main Streets in downtown Chase City is about to be transformed into a pocket park, thanks to the initiative of town residents.
The vacant lot, once the site of the Leggett’s Department store in downtown Chase City, became an eyesore after the building that stood there was demolished, the victim of a roof collapse that created a safety hazard for passersby.
A challenge was issued by the people of Chase City to members of Town Council: fix the site. In response, said Vice Mayor Lisa Gillispie, Town Council heeded the complaints, worked with citizens and the property owner, and “as of this week, this Council has come together as citizens of this wonderful town to help improve the corner.”
Dubbing the effort the Downtown Revitalization Project, Gillispie said Council and citizens are working to raise funds and secure donated materials to cover the exposed building walls. Plantings will take place in the open area. She added that a committee is needed to spearhead the work.
The entire town is being asked “to assist in any way possible, from painting to donations, to help ‘our’ town fix this corner,” and make it a true community project, said Gillispie.
“This is one of the first things you see when you come into town and that is all everyone is talking about,” Gillispie said. “We want to change the talk to positive talk.”
At the same time, she hopes the project will be a catalyst for uniting the town’s people behind a project that will make them proud.
Before announcing the project, Gillispie said she spoke with building owners Mohammed and Sahar Ghanem, garnering their permission to rehabilitate the corner. “Mohammed was moved to tears,” Gillispie said, noting that he lacks the financial means to make improvements to the corner on his own after paying for the demolition.
Now Gillispie and members of Town Council are anxiously waiting to see which of Chase City’s residents will step forward to help them turn an eyesore into a beautiful park.
“Everybody who drives by that corner says somebody ought to do something. Well, everybody in this room is somebody. We are all somebody,” she said of the residents of Chase City. “I don’t care if all you do is dip a brush in paint.”
Those interested in working on the Downtown Revitalization Project should contact town hall at 434-372-5136 or Lisa Gillispie at 434-372-5042.
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