Major street events now frozen
By Diana McFarland
Isle of Wight County Tourism and the town of Smithfield have made some changes to better manage the impact of its specialty markets and other events held downtown.
Next year’s spring Vintage Market is being moved to the Isle of Wight County fairgrounds and Smithfield Town Council member Connie Chapman was appointed to the town’s special events committee to enhance communication about downtown events.
These and other changes were the subject of a wide-ranging interview last week between The Smithfield Times and Isle of Wight County Tourism Director Judy Winslow, Special Events Coordinator Cheryl Ketcham and Isle of Wight Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson.
During the interview, tourism officials defended the agency’s strong role in scheduling major events in the historic district during the year. Tourism officials acknowledged there have been some problems as the agency continues to grow and expand — most recently being Christian Outreach’s decision to change its traditional Saturday in October for Souper Saturday due to added traffic generated by the new Vintage Market.
For example, moving to the fairgrounds will allow the spring Vintage Market to take place over two days instead of one, allow for more vendors, provide ample parking and not require any street closures, said Ketcham.
By Ryan Kushner
VDOT has given Smithfield until Dec. 1 to reach a decision on its proposed Park-to-Park bike and pedestrian trail.
With the deadline established, the details of the proposed path are set to be hashed out at Smithfield Town Council committee meetings later this month.
Discussion of the anticipated bike and pedestrian path, which would run from Royal Farms to the Cypress Creek Bridge, has been ongoing since 2006. Isle of Wight County is now in the process of finalizing its contract, and there was some confusion at a recent Town Council meeting as to how long Smithfield still has to submit a proposal for its trail and remain on the county’s contract.
“If we are going to try to tag along with the county’s contract … we need to decide and talk about proceeding with some kind of direction,” said Council member Milton Cook.
By Ryan Kushner
While the weather may be getting cooler, election season is heating up in Isle of Wight and Surry counties.
State Sen. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, and Republican Henrico County Sheriff Michael Wade are facing off this November for an open seat on the recently revamped 4th Congressional District, which now includes Surry County.
The 4th District underwent significant boundary changes this year due to a court-ordered restructuring of the 3rd District, after judges deemed that Virginia legislators had condensed too many black voters into it, limiting their influence in neighboring districts.
Test wells will provide data on deep aquifer conditions
By Ryan Kushner
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is drilling down in Smithfield to test the waters.
Seven wells are scheduled to be installed in the yard next to the town manager’s Office on South Church Street within in the next two months. The wells will be used to monitor the water levels in the aquifers used by the town and by Smithfield Packing, both of which have permits issued by DEQ that restrict the amount of water they can withdraw.
The drilling of the wells is a condition of the permits held by both entities, which were issued by the DEQ in 2013. Smithfield Packing’s engineering department will be footing the bill for the construction of the wells, which the town will pay back, according to Town Manager Peter Stephenson.
Once installed, the wells will be monitored and maintained by DEQ.