Setbacks for Streetscape?

By: Meryl Conant
By: Meryl Conant

With funding cut in half, there are now questions surrounding the effort to revitalize the downtown of one Valley community.

The cuts also led to the resignation of the only full-time person dedicated to the effort.

And that leaves Waynesboro Downtown Development Inc. (WDDI) with only volunteers- and local businesses wondering what the future holds for the streetscape project.

"It just seems like everything was rolling really good and now I am not sure if it is going to be way at the top of their list or way at the bottom of their list," said Debbie Neville, who works at A Touch of Love Pawn Shop.

"There is a lot of frustration as a merchant downtown to see if that's ever going to happen or not," said Stacey Evans of Blue Moon Gallery.

Downtown Development says the recent cutback will not cutback on the project.

"Our board is enthusiastic and we're excited about the future and I don't think there will be a lot if any on the downtown residents," said Mark Bern of WDDI.

Some merchants say even the most dedicated volunteers don't replace someone whose primary responsibility is developing downtown.

"As our west end gets bigger and bigger, downtown's going to get emptier and emptier," Evans added. "I am afraid that we've made two steps forward and without a director I hope we don't take a step back."

The group says it's just a hiccup and hopes to fill the director spot in three to six months.

Bern says the streetscape project is expected to break ground in May and be completed this summer.


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