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Halifax town firefighters set challenges, goals / February 13, 2020
Halifax Town Council members heard from Town Fire Chief Darryl Dawson at Tuesday night’s meeting as he described the fire department’s goals and challenges for the coming year.

Currently, 25 firefighters are active members of the HVFD, out of 39 members on the department rolls.

“Many are in school or working second jobs,” said Dawson, explaining that a future goal of the department is hiring a daytime staff member who can improve response times. It takes ten to 12 minutes for a volunteer to arrive at the station, pull a truck out, and hit the road, Dawson noted. With daytime calls, volunteers working in other jobs require help from other departments.

In 2019, the HVFD accrued 830.05 man-hours and registered a total of 2,709.15 miles shared between six vehicles. The HVFD answered 228 calls, with 44 located in Halifax town limits and 54 consisting of calls for mutual aid in support of other fire departments.

Dawson outlined other department goals: to retain and recruit new volunteers, and purchase two new vehicles, a tanker truck and a fire engine. Acquiring a used fire engine is not feasible or recommended, he said, because the motors are worn out since most of the time the cold engine is cranked and instantly revved to go 60 miles an hour, repeatedly. Dawson also said the HVFD would also like to resume working EMS calls, after halting the service last year due to lack of manpower.

Leading a discussion of Business Development committee activities, panel chairman Mike Trent unveiled long-awaited goals for the revitalization of downtown Halifax. Three goals have been developed after reviewing the Strategic Economic Development Plan, “Here’s Halifax!” facilitated by Sandra Tanner, VTC Marketing Tourism Development Specialist.

First on the list is a parking/traffic/transportation plan with the renovation and expansion of the courthouse. Halifax Police Chief Stuart Comer has been brought into the discussion for improving parking and enforcing parking rules.

Second, the revitalization plan focuses on beautification and green space development at the Halifax Farmer’s Market, including a fenced in-area for playground equipment for children.

Lastly, the business development plan should offer incentives for new and existing businesses. The process would include identifying types of business that best fit in downtown Halifax and verifying the town code supports what will be put into place.

Council is hoping to have ten community members on the “Here’s Halifax!” committee to help with the short and long term goals to revitalize the Town of Halifax. The committee will meet monthly on the first Friday of the month at 9 a.m. in the conference room of Halifax Town Hall, 70 South Main Street.

Upcoming events in Halifax include April 4 Spring Bazaar, Free Paper Shredding on April 23 and the Earth Day Extravaganza on April 25.

“Vendors are currently signing up for the Earth Day event,” said Denise Barksdale, assistant town manager.

“Let’s hope for good weather,” said Trent, who praised Barksdale for her hard work on these events.

The next work session/regular meeting will be held on March 10 at Halifax Town Hall starting at 6:30 p.m.

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