New sidewalks and facade improvements should be coming soon to Roanoke Avenue.
Lance Jenkins, director of the Main Street program for the Roanoke Avenue Business Alliance, said the sidewalks, which are part of a grant the Alliance and the city of Roanoke Rapids obtained in 2010, should be improved in the 1000 block soon.
“This project isn’t going to be just like the (improvements) in the 200 block,” Jenkins said. “The entrance ways to businesses are different, some are level with the curb, some are above, and some are below.”
Jenkins said the city’s Public Works Director Larry Chalker has contracted with ms consultants, an engineering firm, to study those issues in order to prevent flooding during the sidewalk improvements.
“I’m still expecting this to come to fruition very soon,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins also said the city is working toward getting street banners put up along the Avenue as well — though no time frame has been established as of yet.
“I am very hopeful this is something you will see very soon,” Jenkins said. “I think it will promote community pride and make our district look better.”
A major project for the Alliance moving forward, Jenkins said, is an effort to get the Roanoke Valley Farmers Market to hold one-day a week on the Avenue, with the proposed location being Centennial Park, at the intersection of 7th Street and the Avenue.
Jenkins said the Halifax County Cooperative Extension Office has chosen to hold the market on Mondays, but there are measures to be taken to get approval from the city’s planning and development department in order to get around the ordinance forbidding open air markets in the Avenue district.
“So far, this looks very positive,” Jenkins said.
He added the Alliance has presented their case to the city for the market, and he’s expecting to continue working toward getting approval. If approved soon, the market could begin on Mondays in late spring or early summer.
Jenkins also touted the Alliance’s Facade Improvement Program, which has already seen results in the 1000 block at the Halifax County Arts Council Building. Improvements are slated for buildings in the 200 block as well, including the old Fannie’s building.
These improvements, said Avenue business owner Brian Bohanon, of Floors on Demand, should impress business owners and the general public.
“When you look on the Avenue and see the facade improvements, and the new sidewalks, it will bring money to the Avenue,” Bohanon said. “The goal is to get us back to the day when everyone was shopping on the Avenue, just like when I was a kid.”