For starters, we are finally getting a few long-overdue projects underway - starting with cleaning out the 20-year old grain from the basement. We found some really great guys who aren't afraid of getting dirty; and we are hoping to be able to employ them longer term.
In October, we met with the Town Manager, Mayor and one of the council members. We were assured the way-finding signs would be up in time for this year's market, and are looking forward to this promise being fulfilled.
In December, we discovered that the Town has funds available for "Economic Development". And at February's Council meeting, $65,000 was approved for an engineering survey of the Town's sidewalks. Since King Street is owned by the Town proper, we are not part of the Towns' sidewalk program. Thus, we have requested a $25,000 economic development grant to provide sidewalks along King Street. The meeting will be Monday, March 4th.
Our biggest push now is to get our parking lot "hard-surfaced", as the Town Code requires. Oil prices are sky high, and therefore "tar & chip" is quite costly. Tar & Chip also is not terribly sustainable.
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation points out that hydrocarbons are a huge problem in stormwater runoff: "Hydrocarbon loading in urban runoff is often associated with automobile engine oil, lubricants, and other compounds. Hydrocarbon levels have been found to be highest in the runoff from parking lots, roads, and service stations."
We have confirmed that the stormwater drain in the Middle of King goes straight to the River. Therefore, we are most concerned with doing our part to ensure that the water from our site is not polluting the river.
After much research, we have found a wonderful porous concrete system that is comparable in price to asphalt, but will allow water to drain and be filtered on site, rather than washing pollutants into the river.
If there are any out there who have grant-writing skills and would be willing to volunteer, please email us! We could use some help on this one.
Paving the parking lot is only one of the many goals of developing the building. Besides the lot, we have a ton of work ahead of us to get the building ready for tenants. We're up for it, but it will take time. Rome wasn't built in a day, right?
Improving this property will be a great asset to the Downtown area. Wouldn't it be great to have another great place in Downtown to go to on the weekends? We have heard so many wonderful stories about how Downtown Mount Jackson used to be THE place to go just about any night of the week. Let's bring that back!
Please be sure to ask the Town Representatives to continue to support our efforts, and to continue to focus on improving the Historic Downtown Business Core.
We will update everyone as soon as we have an opening date this year, but look for us in the May!