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South Boston building updates, plans for assistant manager aired

SoVaNow.com / September 17, 2020


At the Monday night meeting of South Boston Town Council, Town Manager Tom Raab addressed a number of topics — including the progress of construction at the SOVA Innovation Hub and at the South Boston Fire Department, and plans to hire an assistant town manager.

“The SOVA Innovation Hub is scheduled to be finished at the end of October whereas the South Boston Fire Department is set for completion mid-October with a dedication ceremony to be held in November,” said Raab. He also the town is posting the position of assistant town manager this week, with $85,178 added to the town budget to fund the position

“An assistant town manager will be a great asset to the town, plus it will facilitate town goals with future successive town managers,” said Council member Sharon Harris.

Town Council offered several recognitions at the Monday meeting, which ran about an hour. Cynthia Hall who represents the Daughters of the American Revolution, received the annual proclamation declaring Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week. Council also asked all members of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee to stand and be recognized. Nevaeh Hodges, a member of MYAC, addressed Council as the committee’s designated speaker.

“We look forward to working with you,” said Hodges.

“The interest and leadership you can provide this community and where you can go from here is full of opportunity. I look forward to working and learning from you all,” said Vice Mayor Bob Hughes.

Ronnie Duffey, ED-4 representative on the Board of Supervisors, took part in the citizen comment portion of the meeting to express his appreciation for Council’s work.

“I’d like to say ‘thank you’ for what you are doing for the town,” said Duffey.

Anthony Womack, a community leader in the Sinai area, updated Council members on the accomplishments and goals of Sinai residents to improve their neighborhood — by establishing a learning center to combat the school-to-prison pipeline, and to help residents to serve as an economic asset to the town.

“I appreciate all the work you have done in the past four months. Mrs. Dunn [the Sinai Trailer Park manager] has been very open and followed through with some of her projects. She has done a lot of work to improve the trailer park by filling pot holes and removing abandoned trailers,” said Womack.

“We all still have a lot of work to accomplish. We have offered support to several residents. We built a ramp for a neighbor who needed help using their electronic scooter in and outside of their home, and have started a community garden with land donated by Kenneth Hodges,” he added.

As for future goals, Womack said, “We’d like to be more inclusive with a sign marquee at Sinai Road to feel more connected to the town, the street lights could be brighter, and flags on the light poles would be a nice enhancement.”

Womack said Sinai residents are working on a blueprint for community housing areas by bridging resources through a new program called “Each One, Teach One.”

Members of the Halifax Unity Project had intended to speak at the Council meeting after sending a letter sent last Thursday to the Town Manager Raab and South Boston Police Chief Binner to request the decertification of former SBPD Corporal Jerome George. Due to a scheduling conflict, Unity Project co-founder Everett Thomas did not appear at the meeting as intended.

However, “We have been assured the Town of South Boston intends to take action and have asked for patience,” said member Blair Trent, another Unity Project co-founder.

In other action by South Boston Council:

» Members approved an amendment to the FY2020-21 budget to raise General Fund revenues and expenditures to $16,169,013. The purpose of this amendment is to appropriate COVID-19 grant funds, North Main Street paving VDOT funding, early repayment proceeds on an Imperial Lofts loan, a North Main Street Housing Project planning grant from VDHCH, the Riverdale Boat Ramp Project grant from DVCE and to add funding for the new Assistant Town Manager position. The budget increase will not change any tax or license fee rates.

» Council adopted the town’s 2020 Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. According to Raab, “this is something we have to do every five years as a way to protect the community members from the threat of natural hazards.”

» Council approved sending a proposed code amendment to the South Boston Planning Commission, which will be tasked with defining “games of skill” before permits for such games will be allowed in all business districts.

» Council approved the appointment of Kathryn Roberts to the town’s Industrial Development Authority to replace Mark Thackston, who resigned due to job relocation.



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