Downtown Martinsville, an area dotted by empty or decaying storefronts, will soon get some money to help revitalize the aging infrastructure.
Fed up with the deterioration and lack of attention, downtown merchants in Martinsville partnered up with Mayor Phil Deckard’s administration in hopes of forging new beginnings for their businesses. Many of these storefronts are currently empty, but with the help of a $50,000 Community Focus Fund grant, the mayor hopes these vacant spaces will come back to life and boost tourism
“The incentives at this time are just the fact that knowing that it is a progressive community and it’s a community downtown district where the business owners really care about not only their image, they care about the community in general. And we care about attracting visitors to our city,” he says.
The downtown merchants are now working with architects to redesign what their spaces can look like once retail and marketing studies, rehabilitation, and landscaping are complete.
Jackie Cook owns the Mixing Bowl restaurant and hopes the revitalization will spawn more businesses like hers.
“As more restaurants come down, more retail shops will come down, which will bring more people down,” Cook says. “I just see a future of awesome repetition of ‘Let’s go downtown and shop’, you know, instead of ‘Let’s go to some of big box stores’.”
Much of the landscaping will begin this spring. The project is estimated to be finished in 2015.