Halifax Town Council is hoping to get grant funding from the Industrial Revitalization Fund to help with future plans for a former Exxon station they recently purchased.

Council authorized the purchase of the former gas station on South Main Street when they met in December at a cost of $220,000 plus $2,077 for closing costs.

At Tuesday’s meeting, council unanimously agreed to authorize town staff to request assistance from the Southside Planning District Commission for the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Industrial Revitalization Fund (IRF) planning grant application, which is due Feb. 11.

The IRF “encourages economic development and investment through the renovation of vacant and derelict structures in Virginia,” as stated in information on the grants.

Planning grants, it states, “will be available to help bolster early state projects.”

Award amounts “will be based on expressed project needs, with no project receiving an award exceeding $100,000.”

The funding could be used for a variety of activities including survey of vacant and blighted structures, code and zoning assessment, building programming or surveys, proforma development, construction budget development or preliminary design concepts and basic rendering sketches.

Possible plans for the former Exxon station include incorporating the site into downtown parking, pedestrian circulation and “development for a healthier business climate.

“The potential for eventual commercial tenants in the building was also depicted in the 2020 Town of Halifax Parking & Connectivity Initiative (aka “Halifax Downtown Connections Plan”), which visually captured two examples of adaptive re-uses for the Exxon property. Property redevelopment will address an underutilized, vacant site that has hindered unifying and connecting with the surrounding downtown core area, will promote healthy & safe community outdoor engagement, and will help entice more commercial businesses to the area. The site has unrestricted access and is directly across from Main Street’s storefronts in the heart of the historic central business district,” as stated on a grant application.

The site could hold 15 parking spaces in the front and 25 in the rear, according to the Hill Studio-Kittleson’s “Halifax Downtown Connections Plan.” 

The Halifax Downtown Connections Plan also says at night and on weekends and holidays, the open space could be used as pedestrian activity space and they could retain the rear site as parking.

Also Tuesday evening, council received Halifax Police Chief’s Stuart Comer’s monthly report.

According to Comer, there were 10 misdemeanor arrests issued by Halifax police in December. He also said they responded to 402 calls for service, issued 60 traffic summons, responded to one traffic accident, issued 33 warnings and completed 37 enforcement activity.

He also told council that Halifax police responded to five accidents within the town during the Jan. 3 snowstorm. Also on that day, he said they responded to two trees down, two power lines down, one cable line and assisted the county with vehicle accidents and trees down.

Ashley Conner is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at aconner@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com