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Halifax Council Seeks River Access In Gateway Project

Halifax Town Council came one step closer Tuesday night in securing access to the Banister River for its proposed wayside as part of the proposed Banister River Gateway Project. Council directed Town Manager Carl Espy to prepare a resolution that spells out everything the town wants to do to make its proposed recreational wayside a reality. The vote was 5 to 0, with Councilman Jack Dunavant abstaining.

Dunavant is the owner of a piece of property, a portion of which is located in the area of the proposed wayside, that contains the Kings Bridge Road right-of-way owned by VDOT.

Last September, Dunavant requested VDOT to abandon the old right-of-way that runs through his property along Route 360 north of Halifax. He also requested the town declare it has no interest in the right-of-way except for the portion that would become part of the proposed wayside near the new Banister River Bridge due to be constructed beginning next month.

The county also must declare it has no use for the abandoned roadbed once leading to the old Kings Bridge across the Banister. The old piers that once supported the bridge are upstream from the site of the current Banister River Bridge, and they are a popular attraction for canoers and kayakers who paddle the river for recreation. Remains of the old bateau sluices are near that area of the river and also attract recreational boaters.

Dunavant assured his fellow council members he would provide the town access to the water.

“It’s a cumbersome process because of the bureaucracies involved,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is expedite this thing. It’s been six months already, and it hasn’t gotten out of the town yet.”

Councilman Bill Confroy suggested Delegate James Edmunds should be informed of what the town is trying to do, and he possibly could help intercede on behalf of the town, county, VDOT and landowner to help expedite the process in Richmond.

Council intends to have a recreational wayside constructed near the new Banister River Bridge. The proposed wayside would have parking facilities in addition to a launch site on the river for non-motorized boats.

In other business, council members got their first look at the template of the town’s new Web site. Espy stressed the site is not ”live” yet as he navigated through different pages and drop-down menus for council members. 

Espy said the site still is under construction as he demonstrated various features. Businesses in the town will be featured on the site, as will the history and historical sites of the town, organizations and points of interest for visitors. Mayor Leon Plaster said town events also should be featured in a prominent place on the Web site.

Under old business, Espy provided an overview of the kick-off meeting for the Banister River Bridge Project. Several town residents and others interested in the project attended the Tuesday night meeting to get more information and details about the enhancement grant project.