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Halifax: Not so fast on courthouse

SoVaNow.com / November 16, 2017
Town of Halifax officials expect to weigh in on some of the changes contemplated for the Courthouse square before renovation work begins in early 2018.

Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy, in a presentation Tuesday at the monthly Town Council meeting, said one of the major changes — making Edmunds Boulevard behind the building into a one-way street — will require approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

That in turn will necessitate a public hearing on the county’s request to change the traffic flow, which was not part of the county’s application for a town permit. Edmunds is currently a two-way street.

The county’s proposed revisions also call for handicap parking spots to be relocated on Edmunds Boulevard behind the three law offices formerly owned by late attorneys Mickey Lewis, Howard Anderson and Jimmy Edmunds.

Espy told Council it is his understanding that the Commonwealth Transportation Board will have approve the traffic pattern and a public hearing on the matter has not been scheduled. He also advised Council that since there will be fewer parking spots on Edmunds, more parking must be allocated in the area behind the regional jail. That in turn will mean sidewalks must be expanded to the parking area. He also noted that the green boxes which are now located in the parking lot will have to be relocated.

Council member Jack Dunavant took aim at another part of the county’s renovation plan at the Courthouse square: taking down the trees to allow for grading of the property.

Ron Conner of B&B Consultants advised supervisors last week that the trees will have to go due to the removal of the brick perimeter wall and movement of equipment throughout the square. He confirmed that all the trees would be removed to a reporter at the meeting.

Dunavant said Tuesday, however, that he didn’t believe that the trees would be cut.

“That was just a consultant’s report and engineers will not have to follow that revision,” Dunavant told Council members.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Dennis Witt said yesterday that he will revisit the issue of the removal of the trees. He sought to assure that only those trees that must be removed will be impacted.

In other business at the Council meeting, Dunavant sought approval for a resolution supporting a move by We The People, a non-profit group of which he serves as president, to take possession of the historic old Clarkton Bridge.

Dunavant, himself an engineer, said he and others do not agree with a $10 million estimate by the Virginia Department of Transportation for refurbishing the old bridge which is listed on the National Register of Historic Properties.

Dunavant says his group wants to seek money from VDOT in a smaller amount to make the bridge safe for foot and small vehicular traffic and maintain it for years to come.

Supervisors approved a resolution of support last week for We the People to take ownership of the bridge last week, on the condition that the county would offer no financial or liability responsibility. On Tuesday, Dunavant said he had appeared before neighboring Charlotte County supervisors and received their support for his plan. (Charlotte County is joined with Halifax County by the bridge.)

VDOT officials have cautioned that the bridge cannot be stabilized short of an investment of many millions of dollars, and the department has called for the demotion of the decaying structure.

After hearing the full resolution, Council members authorized Mayor Kristy Johnson to sign the resolution after their attorney Russell Slayton has an opportunity to review and approve Dunavant’s proposal.

Council also heard plans for the Family Nutrition Program which is sponsoring a 5K Fun Run/Walk this Saturday which starts and ends at the Farmers Market. Other plans focused on the celebration next Saturday of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25, continuing into Sunday, Nov. 26 when the Halifax Village Association will host its annual Christmas Open House from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Farmers Market has announced expanded shopping hours beginning on Saturday, Nov. 25 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. through Dec, 16 and on Sundays on Nov. 26 from 1-5 p.m. through Dec. 17. The Market is also sponsoring an “Ugly Sweater Contest” with the winner being named on Dec. 16.

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Comments

This courthouse remodel has been a mess from the get go. I can see it needs some fixing up, but I wish we had taken it to court. I don't like a judge having that much power over my tax dollars. In fact, I think the laws should be changed to take away some of the power that judges have now. Also the trees need to be saved. That is the one pretty spot in the town and the county wants to ruin it.

Comments

All political 2 “I thought you were running for public office”!!!! Did u decide to run for dog catcher OR the State Line???LOL

Comments

Glad to learn the courthouse's beautiful trees may be spared. Sounds like the "consultant" wanted to do things the easy way instead of the right way (and the way the majority of Halifax Countians and those with Halifax County ties would prefer).


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