Visioning sessions scheduled

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Town of Drakes Branch is set to host a two-day visioning session June 27-28 to facilitate a conversation regarding the future of downtown revitalization.

According to the Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC), the sessions “are a very important step in developing a vision and unified strategy for the Town of Drakes Branch as it works to revitalize its downtown.”

The vision developed at these sessions “will serve as a guide for future revitalization activities in downtown Drakes Branch. Your involvement in this early stage of the process is vital to the success of the town’s revitalization efforts,” CRC officials said.

During the two-day process, staff members from several organizations, such as the CRC and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), will facilitate and assist in the sessions. 

CRC’s Acting Executive Director Melody Foster said the agency is looking for a good turnout from the community.

The Drakes Branch Downtown Revitalization Project first kicked off last April when a concerned citizen initially contacted the CRC back last February.

The concern led to a meeting at the Drakes Branch Municipal Building to gage interest in the project.

During that meeting, DHCD Associate Director of Community Development Policy Tamarah Holmes discussed different funding options available through the agency in key areas, including planning, community and economic development, workforce development training, as well as water and sewer infrastructure.

The town would later receive a $3,000 pre-planning grant to determine the needs of the town and examine the possibility of a future Business District Revitalization Project from the DHCD. 

“The storefronts here in Drakes Branch and the properties on the Main Street are very antiquated,” councilman Roscoe Eubanks said last May. “If we get a grant to upgrade the storefronts and properties here in town, that would make them attractive to new businesses.”

Refreshments will be provided during the visioning sessions. Residents, business owners and individuals with an interest in the project are urged to attend.

For more information on the sessions, contact the CRC at (434) 392-6104.