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Speakers offer updates for Town Council / November 07, 2019
Meeting a week early due to Veteran’s Day next Monday, South Boston Town Council heard from a pair of speakers, Recreation Director Matt McCargo and county IDA Executive Director Brian Brown, on opportunities for local residents.

McCargo’s presentation focused largely on the South Boston Recreation Center on Jeffress Boulevard, the old armory building, and the Washington Coleman Community Center. McCargo highlighted the popularity of both facilities among town residents.

“We have 300 games a season,” said McCargo of the basketball program at the rec center. The huge number of games prompted the question of how the rec department maintains the basketball court. Cleaning and polishing the floors is conducted over Christmas break, with a double coat on the lanes, McCargo explained. “This is the way the floor stays in great shape.”

The Washington Coleman Community Center also receives steady praise for the condition of the facility. “Community members comment on the cleanliness and how the building still appears new,” said McCargo.

The community center offers a variety of classes, including chair exercises and pickle ball. The Fit and Functional Class “is packed” three times a week. McCargo said this class meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and there is room for additional participants.

Parking is an issue, but the community center has staggered its classes by 15 minutes to allow time for those leaving to open up parking for the next round of class participants.

The Washington Coleman walking track is very popular. “Once people learned about the available track for walking, it is getting used a lot,” McCargo said.

One area of decline is the number of people interested in taking part in the North Main Classic, which was cancelled this year. Typically, this event is packed, McCargo said. He said he is not sure why the number of players is down, possibly due to other gym and fitness centers.

However, the basketball leagues offered at the old armory — Mites, Peewee, Midget, Junior and Senior leagues, and Industrial League — are as popular as ever, McCargo said. The six leagues have 537 players The Industrial League is for players 30 and over, and consists of teams sponsored by businesses such as Benchmark Bank, Italian Delight, and Presto to name a few.

McCargo ended his presentation by reading a note which was left on his desk by an unknown supporter of the community center. The rhyming letter praising the importance of recreational activities drew a hearty applause from members of Council.

“Thank you for the impact on youth in the community, they have a fine example in you,” Council member Bob Hughes said to McCargo.

Brown, the newly appointed executive director of the Halifax Industrial Development Authority, introduced his wife, Vicki, saying they are unpacking boxes with their move to town. “We are happy to be residents in South Boston,” said Brown.

Brown spoke of the positive opportunities already in place for Halifax County, citing the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, the available workforce, local entrepreneurs as great foundation for economic development.

“South Boston is very aggressive” in creating new housing developments and providing a quality of life that welcomes people to come and stay in the community, Brown added.

He also touted local entertainment resources, lakes and rivers, and South Boston Speedway and VIR as draws for people looking at life in Halifax County.

In another item at the monthly regular session, Town Manager Tom Raab reported said the town has received $50,000 as a grant for the abatement of asbestos in the Haislip Dental Lab building.

The asbestos had to be cleared before the demolition of the building, at the future site for Microsoft Innovation Hub.

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