Two primary programs have been identified for potential implementation of the recommendations of this plan. One is the Community Development Block Grant program administered through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The other is the utilization of TEA21 transportation enhancement funding administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation. A focus of the plan has been to define a scope of activity that will be eligible for funding under these programs and that will fit within guidelines for potential funds available.
Community Development Block Grant.
The CDBG program is intended to address blighted conditions within a defined boundary within a community. The funds may be used to address public space improvements and also as a 50% match to private landowners to address visual blight through the improvement of building signs, facades and building access. The CDBG area for downtown Halifax extends along Main Street from Cemetery Street to Mountain Road and includes the deteriorated sidewalks and curbs as well as the signs and building facades. The rear facades of the buildings between Main Street and Houston are also included in the CDBG area, since many businesses have a dual point of access from both Main Street and Houston Street. The CDBG area is shown on the "Phasing Budget Plan" exhibit.
Conditions to be addressed in this area have been discussed in the sections describing the existing conditions in the community as well as in the plan recommendations. The primary issues may be summarized as follows:
- The sidewalks are extremely deteriorated, with irregular surfaces, holes, grade changes and other dangerous and unattractive condition. The curbs are also variable, in poor condition or nonexistent, and in need of complete replacement.
- Streetscape enhancements are planned as part of the sidewalk improvements. These improvements will include public plazas and pedestrian improvements including safe dedicated pedestrian crosswalks and connections between the businesses and the downtown parking areas.
- The roadway has been resurfaced numerous times and has a drainage system that runs under the private buildings. In order to improve the drainage and sidewalks the street must be regarded and provided with a new drainage system.
- The water and sewer for the area have been checked on a preliminary basis, and should not require any improvement as a part of the project.
- The building facades and signs are variable in condition. Some have been improved and maintained over the years and need only minor improvement to address visual blight, while others are in extremely blighted condition and need more major improvement and change. Some buildings have been undergoing improvement during the planning stage of the project. The 28 buildings slated for improvement in the grant area have been divided into high, medium and low cost categories. The categorization and a brief summary of recommended improvements for each building are provided on Exhibit W.
- Public sign blight will also be addressed as part of the streetscape improvements to address the visual clutter, unsafe mounting, and lack of clarity of public directional and identification signs.
TEA21 Enhancement Grant. TEA21 grants are funded under the Federal Transportation Enhancement Act, with funds passed through the Virginia Department of Transportation for distribution to communities. The grants require a 20% local match, and may be used for public pedestrian and bicycle access improvements, along with related streetscape, utility and roadway work and removal of overhead utilities, and also for improvement of transportation-related facilities, including historic elements. In the Town of Halifax, funding applications will require phasing in order to address the full project scope. The Town has received a design grant available in 2003 for design of the Phase One improvements. A Phase One TEA21 construction application will include the relocation of overhead utilities on Main Street. Additional improvements have been broken down into several areas for phasing purposes, as shown on Exhibit V and summarized in the Exhibit X budget estimate.
Overall Project Budgets
The total public cost of the proposed improvements in this plan is approximately $1,980,000. The overall budget is divided into six main areas with approximate budgets as follows:
- Main Street Core Area
- Streetscape and Facades $615,000
- Overhead Utilities $400,000
- Plaza and Pedestrian Areas $120,000
- Main Street Approach Area $305,000
- Houston Street Improvements $315,000
- Courthouse Area $225,000