The City of Emporia was originally two cities that were merged into one and therefore has two historic downtowns. The Belfield Commercial District has been the forgotten downtown of Emporia since the railroad ceased passenger service to the historic train depot located there. Bypassed by U.S. Routes 1, 301, and 58, Belfield had experienced severe disinvestment over recent decades leading to many building vacancies and the severe dilapidation of several key buildings.
Our planning department worked with the City to develop an economic restructuring plan, physical improvement plan for Belfield, and a competitive CDBG grant for downtown revitalization. The City was awarded $700,000 for downtown revitalization which helped fund façade improvements, selective demolitions, and streetscape improvements. We were also selected by the City of Emporia to design and manage construction of the Infrastructure improvements to the Belfield District funded by CDBG and City funds. Our team designed improvements to existing sidewalks, curb, gutter and street facilities. Design features also addressed aesthetics with landscaping and pedestrian features such as plantings, benches, street lights, trash receptacles, handicap ramps and crosswalks. Our team performed all contract document preparation including specifications and bid documents.
The firm assisted the City in procuring and negotiating with contractors to address budget concerns and held pre-construction and progress meetings throughout the project construction phase. We also provided a full time VDOT-certified inspector to document progress, ensure quality, materials testing, and to meet contract requirements. Our staff was engaged with project stakeholders and adjacent property owners to solve problems, address concerns and facilitate the project’s early completion.
We were contracted to research and compile an Economic Restructuring Plan and to compile and submit an application for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for downtown revitalization. The Town was awarded $700,000 in CDBG funds in 2016, and we provided project management assistance to the Town during the implementation of the project.
A neighborhood study, funded under a 2008 CDBG Planning Grant, assisted the Town in identifying specific community development and housing needs in the neighborhood. The proposed improvement plan focused on the rehabilitation of houses in conjunction with water and street improvements.
The Hampton Redevelopment and Housing Authority (HRHA) and the City of Hampton identified a set of diverse neighborhoods within the city that experienced various levels of disinvestment. Previous planning efforts had identified key goals and outcomes but said little about the actual implementation.