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Century Theme Picked For Halifax County Fair

“A Century Of Fair” will be the theme for the 100th Annual Halifax County Fair set for Oct. 5-9. Fair Coordinator Donnell Corelle told the Halifax County Board of Supervisors on Monday night this year’s fair will focus on agriculture in the 21st century.

In her monthly report, she said promotional artwork design is being contributed as well as research of the fair for a retrospective that will be featured in the exhibit hall this fall during the week of the fair.

Halifax County Historical Society has agreed to produce a commemorative 35-page book on the history of the fair. The publication, which is not expected to cost more than $2,000, will feature a glossy full-color front cover and be filled with photos and historical facts as provided by the Wilkins’ family, who ran the fair for decades before the county purchased the grounds two years ago, Corelle said.

She further explained she plans to secure funding for the book that will be sold prior to and during the fair.

The historical society will donate a portion of the proceeds to the fair, she added.

Grandstand entertainment has been contracted for Wednesday, Friday, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night, she said, adding that gospel music is slated to open the fair on Tuesday evening.

On Thursday evening, county war veterans will be saluted in a “Pride of Halifax” celebration featuring a U. S. military band and patriotic-themed fireworks. The annual 4-H talent show will precede the 8 p.m. salute on Thursday evening, Corelle added.

Additional entertainment and educational programs are planned for the exhibit hall, and independent entertainment vendors such as snakes, petting zoo and bingo also are being approached for the midway, she said.

Fireworks have been contracted for three nights – Thursday through Saturday, and Corelle said if additional funds become available, fireworks also will be displayed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The fair coordinator said a potential sponsor has been identified for the fair’s Web site, and an updated site is expected to be online in 10 days with full Web site revisions expected in early May.

Corelle told supervisors she has met with leaders from county tourism, historical society, Southside Virginia Master Gardeners, Southern Virginia Wine Association, South Boston Jaycees, 4-H Club and VIR and has requested meetings with other civic organizations to discuss their possible participation in the centennial fair event.

To date, the South Boston Jaycees have agreed to sponsor “Hali-Fair Summer Fest,” a special event to be held at the fairgrounds on Saturday, June 5, beginning at noon, that will benefit the fair.

Corelle said the first monthly meeting of this year’s fair committee was held in March, and the next meeting is set for Thursday, April 22.
In the meantime, the fair coordinator said she has scheduled one-on-one meetings with individual committee members to get more information about what each member envisions for the 100th anniversary of the fair.

In the works and to be finalized this month are a fair marketing plan, sponsorship packages, potential sponsors/advertising listing, partnerships and commemorative book funding.

In other county business Monday evening, supervisors held four public hearings including one on 20 applications for agricultural and forestal districts (AFDs), representing the last of this year’s applications being considered.

Jerry Lovelace spoke in support of the 847.93-acre Love Shop application as well as the 514.04-acre Chappell’s Bottom application.

An adjoining property owner to the Love Shop application, Lovelace said he favored both the Love Shop and Chappell’s Bottom applications.

Also addressing the board during the hearing was Betty J. Brown who said her property is adjoined by two of the proposed AFDs.

She asked how her property might be impacted and was told there should be no impact at all.

“It should not affect your property,” said County Administrator George Nester, who explained that the program allows agricultural and forestal use to continue on these properties, but the land cannot be used for subdivision development. “If you have one of these adjoining you, it’s probably the best security because you know what this property can be used for.”

Following the hearing on the AFD applications, supervisors heard comments from the public and unanimously approved a conditional use permit for an RV campground in ED-7.

H. Reed Edwards and his wife, Leigh, submitted an application to locate an RV campground with three additional camper hookups on the north side of Ramble Road (State Route 730) at 3132 Ramble Road in Virgilina.

Edwards spoke in favor of the application, and Planning/Zoning Administrator Robbie Love said the planning commission had recommended approval of the application, and he had received no comments against the campground application.

Bill McCaleb, a board member on the Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens (SVBG) and Environmental Education Center, spoke during the third public hearing of the evening in support of developing a series of public educational demonstration gardens on approximately 15 acres in Edmunds Park.

Joined by a group of supporters for the proposed botanical gardens, McCaleb said “a lot of sweat equity” provided by “folks with green thumbs” will make the botanical gardens become a reality.

The SVBG, a not for profit organization, plans to furnish services to beautify and maintain the community by developing a botanical garden at Edmunds Park that will benefit the county and all guests visiting the park, according to the license agreement.

The term of the license agreement between the county and SVBG will be for 15 years beginning May 1 and continuing through April 30, 2025 with an annual license fee of $1 being paid to the county treasurer.

According to the agreement, SVBG will develop and maintain the botanical garden at its own cost and expense and will feature different aspects of gardening and horticulture.

The garden will be open to the public at no charge at all times when Edmunds Park is open, and SVBG will provide for ongoing maintenance and operation of the garden, the agreement states.

SVBG will be allowed to construct an information center on the property and will provide a collection of resources for visitors to use in planning agricultural projects.

At the close of the project, all improvements within the park will become the property of the county, the agreement states.

Supervisors took no action following the hearing, but County Administrator Nester said the board will be asked to execute a formal agreement with the SVBG board of directors after “a minor issue with the deed can be worked out.”

In other action Monday night, supervisors heard a monthly status report from VDOT Residency Administrator J. D. Barkley II who said construction is slated to begin today on the 360 permanent bridge over the Banister River.

“They are starting this week, so I am real excited about that. That project has been needed for many years, and it’s weathered the financial storms of VDOT, and it’s really going to be a great thing,” Barkley said.

Bids were received March 24 for the bridge repair contracts on Route 659 over Birch Creek and Miry Creek, he added.

Also, work on the Route 688 bridge replacement on Goode’s Road and on Route 716 over Clardie Creek on Falkland Road is estimated to be complete next month, Barkley told supervisors.

He announced that a public hearing on primary roads has been set for June 3 at New River Community College in Pulaski County.

Also Monday night, the county administrator updated board members on improvements that have been made to courthouse security including the installation of magnetometers placed at the entrance to each of the three courtrooms that screen people as they enter.

In addition, Nester said the sheriff’s department is obtaining three additional deputies and three part-time deputies to help with courthouse security and are in the process of installing short-circuit TV monitors in the courtroom so that activities can be monitored and recorded.

A meeting to update the judges on security measures that have been taken is scheduled for June 11, Nester told supervisors.

He outlined three distinct and separate activities that are under way related to the courthouse including security, historical architectural review and the American With Disabilities Act.

A preliminary architectural review is under way to develop a list of items that need to be addressed pertaining to security, American Disabilities Act and historical preservation.

“It is not a commitment of funding but will identify what the costs and options are,” Nester told board members. ”It identifies what those improvements would be and assigns a cost value to it.

“This document would be an instrument to get us in the funding trough,” Nester said, referring to the possibility of stimulus funding becoming available at a future date.

In on separate issue, Nester said he will meet with Halifax Town Council current affairs committee today to discuss the Dixie Youth program.
Nester explained he had received a letter from Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy asking supervisors to consider no long-term arrangements with the Halifax Dixie Youth organization at its present location.

He explained he responded to the letter by sending a copy of that letter to the Dixie Youth Baseball organization that may have set the tone that a decision had been made and that the county was trying to force them out.

“That was really not my intention,” he added.

Nester invited supervisors to attend the Wednesday meeting with town council members.

ED#6 Supervisor Wayne Conner said when the schools reverted back to county ownership, the board made it a priority that those facilities with baseball fields could continue to be used.

“That is our position at this time. Not that it couldn’t change in the future, but the board at that time expressed the fields at those schools would continue to be used by the organizations that are using it,” he said.

Chairman William Fitzgerald told the county administrator he plans to attend the meeting with Halifax Town Council today.

Supervisors adopted a resolution by a 7 to 1 vote approving the issuance of debt in an amount not to exceed $5,000,000 by the Southside Regional Public Service Authority for the purpose of financing the design and construction of capital improvements to open a new cell at the regional solid waste disposal facility and sanitary landfill.

According to Nester, the need to open a new cell for garbage disposal at the regional landfill is 18 months ahead of projections due to engineering problems encountered.

ED#6 Supervisor Conner voted against the resolution explaining “something needs to be pursued. If the engineer is wrong, it needs to be addressed.”

Chairman Fitzgerald explained the engineers have made “some concessions that the authority has taken advantage of.”

ED#4 Supervisor Doug Bowman made the motion that was seconded by ED#2 Supervisor Tom West.

“Solid waste is something we don’t have much options. I’m glad we’re in a regional situation to be quite honest. I’d rather share this burden three ways than all on our own,” Bowman said.

Nester explained the partnership is equally divided between Halifax, Charlotte and Mecklenburg Counties.

In other actions, supervisors took the following actions:

• Set a public hearing for May 3 on a conditional use permit application from Lemuel Anthony Powell of Powell’s Guns and Ammo to locate a gun and ammunition retail store in ED#6 at the end of State Route 686 at 3102 Mercy Seat Road in Sutherlin;

• Appointed Sharon Warren of ED#4 to fill a vacancy on the Improvement Council;

• Reappointed Gerald Lovelace to the Southside Planning District Commission to fill a three-year term that expired March 31; and

•  Went behind closed doors in an executive session to discuss the acquisition or disposition of property; a prospective business or industry or expansion of an existing business; consult with legal council; and discuss award of a public contract involving public funds but took no action when returning in open session.