John Redding

May 2-8 is National Small Business Week. There is a new Facebook group entitled Appomattox Small Business Owners and they are initiating a promotional effort called “Pack the Passport.” Please give a special consideration to your local small businesses and help support this new endeavor. Check out the new group online or contact Laura Harvey Briceland to get involved. 

Your chamber is partnering with the Historic Appomattox Railroad Festival (HARF) committee in a series of efforts this year. We will be assisting in a fundraiser or two prior to October and then during the Friday and Saturday night events on the festival weekend. 

One area that the HARF committee needs some assistance is in sponsorship of the planned Saturday night fireworks. If you are able to step up and help make this a memorable display, contact Susan Adams at 434-315-4325. The Spout Spring Ruritans are able to provide 50 percent of the required funds but their year has also been difficult due to restrictions on the numbers that have been allowed to be inside at their bingo nights.

Another venue at the HARF that is presently in doubt is the hot dog stand traditionally operated by the Appomattox Court House Presbyterian Church. The provision of the inexpensive hot dogs has been a service to the community for many years, but the aging congregation will need assistance if it is to function at this year’s festival. If you would like to volunteer, please contact me or another church member. 

A new wrinkle is being added to the HARF this year that will involve many local businesses. Kia Scott is heading up this effort. I will not elaborate at this time since the details are still being ironed out but look for more information in the near future. 

There will be plenty of music at the festival as usual. Two evening events are planned with a Friday night performance at Courtland Festival Park and the Saturday night Street Dance on Main Street. Other traditional events will also return. 

Progress continues on the Appomattox Downtown Revitalization Project. Three proposals were received for branding/ marketing organizations. The proposals were reviewed and a contractor selected. Although a small part of the overall effort, the effects of this portion of the project will be quite important. Signage and other promotional considerations are necessary to make people aware of and attract them to our downtown district. Many that arrive in Appomattox, especially when entering via route 24 or 460, are likely unaware that there is a downtown business district. If we can simultaneously make downtown more attractive as a destination and make people more aware of its existence, a major revitalization is possible. 

Facade improvements continue in various stages in three rounds of effort. Six properties are under construction or contract in Round 1. Round 2 consists of eleven additional properties that have bids approved or are in the final stages of such. Round 3 has two properties in the initial stages of review. Public improvements are progressing with easement considerations and construction drawings. 

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