April 4, 2018
Construction has begun on improvements in Bassett and Fieldale as part of the Smith River Small Towns Business District Revitalization Project.
The revitalization project is targeting “15 Magical Miles” in the communities of Bassett, Fieldale, Stanleytown and Koehler.
Work has begun in Bassett with façade improvements to one unit on Sunset Drive and to the adjoining units on Reed Stone Street, according to Mary Ann Mason, grants administrator with Henry County. The Sunset Drive work is almost complete with only painting, door repair and door installation left to be done.
The Reed Stone Street façade work started with the removal of the one-piece metal awning that spanned the front of the adjoined units. This will be replaced with individual storefront awnings which will mimic the historical context of the façade, Mason stated.
Also, the ceramic paneling storefront system has been removed to allow the contractor to fully examine the condition of the original brick facades, she said. Restoring the brick façades will involve a low-impact abrasive blasting system to clean and remove paint, removing infill materials and replacing them with matching brick, mortar repair as needed and application of brick stain.
One exterior end wall of the Reed Stone Street units has been repaired to create a smooth, waterproof wall that is suitable for continued façade improvements.
The Bassett façade improvements are expected to be substantially completed in early June, Mason stated.
Permits and paperwork for renovations contracted for the Bassett Train Depot are being finalized now, and work is expected to begin within the next few weeks, according to Mason.
Renovations to the depot will allow for year-round use of the building. The history of the depot as well as the Bassett community will be highlighted throughout the facility.
Negotiations are continuing for the streetscape work proposed for the area around and behind the depot, Mason said.
Improvements to the Fieldale Business District also are underway, starting with the demolition of some of the grounds at the Fieldale Recreation Center, Mason said.
Some sidewalks, trees and shrubs have been removed, some minor clearing has been completed to allow for the marking of the location for a covered stage, and a covered stage structure has been ordered. The stage area and small dance area will be built to the front right of the property for concerts.
The bulk of the improvements will be completed after the stage is installed and the weather improves. The improvements are projected to be substantially complete by late June, according to Mason.
Also in Fieldale, façade improvement design work is being revised and finalized. Those improvements are planned for properties on Marshall Way, including the Fieldale Recreation Center. The bid process for these improvements is planned to occur as soon as the property owners approve the designs.
The revitalization efforts began in 2013 with the creation of the Smith River Small Towns Collaborative, an initiative of The Harvest Foundation. The work now under way in Fieldale and Bassett is the first of four phases of those efforts.
The estimated cost of the first phase is $3.2 million. It is being funded by the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development, the Appalachian Regional Commission, Bassett Furniture Industries, Eastman Chemical, the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp., and The Harvest Foundation.
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