Improvements to the Halifax Marketplace and Halifax Town Hall were a topic of discussion at Tuesday evening’s Halifax Town Council meeting and work session.

The Halifax Marketplace has a new roof and a new restaurant, Viny’s Italian Restaurant, opening soon in a portion of the building. At the end of the month, Halifax Town Hall will have a new roof installed. Gupton Sheet Metal & Roofing is the contractor for the roofing projects. The town refinanced $500,000 in general obligation bonds with Truist (SunTrust) Bank and is using those funds for making the improvements to the Halifax Marketplace and town hall.

Assistant town manager Denise Barksdale gave council an update during their work session on the improvements to the Halifax Marketplace, and changes to the farmers market’s hours as a result.

“Once Viny’s does open up, we are looking at a Thursday evening market during the holiday season to be open one night during the week while Viny is open,” Barksdale said. “We’ll explore that change going forward into next year.”

Town manager Carl Espy said he anticipates an announcement on the opening of Viny’s Italian Restaurant “very soon.”

“We’re waiting to hear from Viny, and he’ll give us an announcement on whether that’s a soft opening or a hard opening for the restaurant. I do know the building officials, the health officials have been in there,” Espy said. “Viny is getting ready to gear up; we’ll just wait for him to let us know when it’s time to queue up Viny’s Italian restaurant. We’re excited about that project.”

Barksdale told council one of the major renovations inside the marketplace is the construction of a new wall in the back of the building that runs from the wall of Viny’s Restaurant all the way to the far wall where the exit door is located. The floor space for farmers’ market vendors is increasing by 1,800 square feet as a result of the renovations, as well.

Within the next week, Barksdale said the blue tarps that have served as makeshift walls inside the marketplace will be taken down and work will begin on restoring the ceiling tiles. By next spring or summer, Barksdale said she anticipates having air-conditioning units installed at the market. The units were donated.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have an outpouring of support from the community as far as donations, monetary and supply and labor-wise,” Barksdale said.

Moving forward, the town of Halifax plans to use the remaining funding from bond refinancing to do additional site improvements to the Halifax Marketplace, including “parking surfaces and clock plaza area, storm water mitigation, partial clearing behind the marketplace building for access, delivery and storage along with other improvements, architectural and engineering services.”

The town of Halifax also plans to make additional improvements to the town hall building on South Main Street. Town council at Tuesday’s meeting ratified by a unanimous vote an amendment to its agreement with Halifax County for the distribution of $212,270 in CARES Act funding to the town of Halifax. Finance chairman Bill Covington noted the amount of CARES Act funding that the town is receiving has doubled from the original amount they anticipated receiving. Councilman Mike Trent made a motion to approve the amendment, and Covington seconded the motion.

Espy said the town is getting quotes on an automated door system for the front entrance to town hall as well as the police department. In addition, he said he would like to make improvements to the council chambers at town hall to accommodate more room for social distancing during meetings.

Council plans to hold a public hearing regarding amending its budget to reflect the $212,000 in CARES Act funding at the next town council meeting, set for Nov. 17.

“We have to amend the budget for this year because the budget will increase by more than 1% (with the CARES Act funding),” Espy explained to council.

Councilman Covington made a motion to change the November meeting date from the customary date of the second Tuesday of the month to the third Tuesday of the month and hold the public hearing at that time. Councilman Confroy seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.