John Killeen is a City and Regional Planning graduate student working in Caswell County.
To plan for best use of NC STEP resources, Yanceyville is generating action plans for the STEP priority categories. Siting and developing the Artisan Gallery is a strategy that is close to yielding results, with the former Watlington’s store on Court Square undergoing renovation. Next is the strategy for downtown revitalization.The action plan for Yanceyville’s downtown revitalization includes three major components: a facade improvement grant program, comprehensive physical improvements to downtown and Court Square, and the establishment of “First Fridays at the Y,” a monthly downtown celebration of art, food, and community to be sponsored by a rotating host of Caswell civic groups.
The first of these, Yanceyville’s facade improvement grant program will be reviewed by Town Council this month and is expected to be operational by January 2010. Through this program successful applicants will be able to make use of up to $5,000 in matched funding from the town for improvements to facades that enhance the appearance and historic integrity of downtown and Court Square. The policy will also fund mural projects that make use of highly visible walls that are not part of contributing historic facades.
The comprehensive physical improvement of downtown is also underway, with NCDOT and town management collaborating on a plan to upgrade street surfaces, sidewalks, and lighting, as well as aesthetic enhancements such as plantings and signage. With this plan completed, an engineering study will be done to design implementation and determine final costs. Improvements will be completed during spring and summer of 2010.
“First Fridays at the Y” is currently being designed, with the town forming a steering committee of community volunteers. The premier Friday will be in May 2010, with local food vendors, artisans, live music and more filling Court Square and North Street. More updates about “First Friday at the Y” will be reported here in the coming weeks.