Improved downtown space in Woodstock hopes to bring more people to town

WOODSTOCK, Va. (WHSV) — On Friday, the town of Woodstock unveiled improvements to a central downtown area. After years of planning and months of work, a once unusable space is now resolving flooding issues and trying to attract more people to local businesses.

The town converted an area of land between businesses downtown into a parking lot with a permeable surface. They also added 56 parking spaces, an expanded underground draining system, and more than 4,000 plants to alleviate flooding problems the area has had in the past.

A church that shares space near the parking lot was once surrounded by sandbags because frequent flooding would rush down the stairs and into the building. These improvements hope to resolve this issue.

These improvements were also made in this space specifically, after analysis showing that it would be the best investment for the town. The town says they did it as cost effectively as possible.

"All of the permeable paving and all of the plants and all of the electrical work were all done by town employees," said Lemuel Hancock, urban designer and neighborhood planner for the town. "So we were able to save the town and the tax payers a great deal of money."

The town also removed old fencing for easier access to local shops, and they hope to bring more people in from out of town with two new electric car charging stations, one of which was donated by Tesla.

"We hope that people come off of Interstate 81 and see that we have a charging station here, and they come and charge their vehicle," said Jeremy McCleary, the town's mayor, "and while its charging hopefully they come have a cup of coffee or get a bite to eat."

The town will be starting work on another downtown public space within the next month.