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South Hill agrees to abandon ‘paper streets’

SoVaNow.com / November 15, 2017
South Hill Town Council has agreed to abandon three “paper streets” in town after considering a request from John Davis to do so, one of the actions taken at Monday night’s meeting of the South Hill Town Council.

The streets exist on paper but were never developed. They are unopened and unnamed corridors that run between Locust and Elm Streets, Maple Street between Westover Avenue and the unopened street and Elm Street, also between Westover Avenue and the unopened street.

Town Manager Kim Callis assured Council members that the town has no plans to develop the streets and none of the affected property owners objected to the request, which was advertised locally for two weeks. Steve and Gwen Hinzman, who own property abutting Elm Street, agreed that they were not opposed to the closure.

Callis said once the streets were closed, ownership of the corridors would revert to the abutting property owners, but only if they were willing to reimburse the town for costs associated with eliminating these paper streets.

In other business, Callis said the Southern Virginia Food Hub is progressing nicely. Solex Architecture is working on plans to renovate the interior of the building that will house the hub, located at the intersection of Danville Street and Mecklenburg Avenue in the building that previously housed the Bakers Farmer’s Market.

“Town staff are working on the various utility issues,” Callis explained, adding that he expects the Food Hub to open in June.

As part of the funding for the project from the Department of Housing and Community Development, Town Council approved several forms required to receive community development block grant funding. The forms include fair housing certification, a local business employment plan, a residential anti-displacement plan and a grievance procedure.

The business and employment plan is a promise from the town that it will encourage the hiring of lower-income persons to work on renovation of the Food Hub building.

Brantley Morris, the town’s recently hired business development manager, gave his first update to Town Council. This week is his third on the job, and he says he is continuing to learn about the town, county and state and making contact with potential economic development partners such as the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Mecklenburg Economic Development Office, Go Virginia, commercial real estate developers and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP).

Bill Wilson, the town’s public works director, said a recent test of town water for lead and copper found no discernible levels of either metal.

According to the U.S. EPA, water that contains 15 parts per billion (0.015 mg/L) of lead and 1.3 milligrams per liter (1.3 mg/L) of copper are considered “actionable,” Wilson said.

The Virginia Department of Health determined that 20 houses in South Hill comprise a statistically adequate sampling size for assessing water quality. The water flowing into at least that many homes must be tested every three years. The results from the most recent testing were that the water had less than 0.002 mg/L of lead and .2 mg/L of copper.

Wilson said he expects construction to be completed in six weeks on the town’s new public works building on Danville Street. The contractor is facing the building with brick and work continues on the interior of the building. Once completed, the building will serve as a storage facility for public works vehicles and equipment. It will also be available for special events that need large open spaces.

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