We Are Improving!

We hope that you'll find our new look appealing and the site easier to navigate than before. Please pardon any 404's that you may see, we're trying to tidy those up!  Should you find yourself on a 404 page please use the search feature in the navigation bar.  

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Caesar Neville was one of the early arrivals at a listening session Thursday to look over plans for Weldon’s proposed riverfront enhancement project.

“I think it would be great for the town, the whole area and kind of put Weldon back on the map,” Neville, a business owner in Weldon, said. “It has all the features of a really nice resort town. They’ve got world class fishing so to add other water-related activities to fishing it’ll just make the whole riverfront pop.”

Lori Medlin, president and CEO of the Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau, presided over the session.

The project starts with the fact the state has designated the river a state Blueway trail, a trail on the river, she said. “With that comes money for the river and development of the riverfront. We think by leveraging that money against other grants we can transform the River Falls Park. The real goal here is to have Weldon be seen as a riverfront community.”

Medlin said Weldon’s downtown is two blocks from the riverfront. “But is that connection made? We think it can be made better through signage and wayfinding and having this beautiful, handicapped accessible (boardwalk and pavilion) so no matter what your ability is you’ll be able to walk up and down that river, sit down, relax and enjoy it even if you can’t get out on a boat and go fishing. This will be the jumping off point for people from around the nation to come into North Carolina and access the river.”

At the heart of the project is economic development and jobs. “Any kind of business where you have foot traffic coming through your town then they’re going to look at the town as a place where they can be successful. This will increase visitation, this will increase foot traffic. Obviously it will increase foot traffic into the town which will help small businesses start and grow and be successful.”

River Falls Park came to existence through a North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant.

Medlin believes that could bode well for the project. “They’re happy to continue to help with something they’ve already funded so that’s a good thing. They’re seeing that Weldon has had the capacity to take care of what they helped build so that bodes well for us to continue to get more funding to improve that park.”

She said connecting the project to a now-established Blueway State Park Trail is also an important factor. “We’re doing everything we can do including this meeting to try to get public comments. There’s an online component. You get points for all these things that have been done. We’ve been to the recreation committee, my board, we’re going to (Halifax Business) Horizons next week trying to get buy-in from the community as a whole so they see that support and see that Weldon has the capacity to take care of it once we get it built.”

River Falls Park already has a connection to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Medlin said. “Our partnership with Wildlife Resources is intricately important. They’re a big tennant down there on the riverfront. They’re supportive of the project so I think everyone is rowing in the same direction.”

The application will be filed on May 2 and stakeholders in the project should know the outcome in June.

Those who didn’t go to the listening session have an opportunity to respond digitally at this link through April 14 at 11:59 p.m. 

Regina Brooks was recently appointed to the Roanoke Canal Trail Commission. “Changes can be made and that’s why I’m here,” she said. “It’s time for things to change here.”

Ginny Lewis, president of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, stopped by Weldon Town Hall to lend her support to the project. “It’s a fabulous project and a much needed project. This is taking advantage of our riverfront which we all know is a big pull for our area to begin with.”

Lewis said she sees the project as nothing but positive for all. “It’s just great for surrounding communities. The chamber represents the whole valley so I can just see this as something that would really be used by all communities in our area.”

Weldon Town Commissioner Nancy Sandoval said, “It gives a place to actually congregate and spend time and do different things. There’ll be kayaking. Eventually there’ll be (places) to stay overnight. It’s handicapped accessible which suits everybody and makes it available so you can bring all the family. We hope it will be soon.”

Town Commissioner Muzette Kiger said, “I see this project as the trailhead of the Roanoke River paddle trail. It becomes a destination not just for the citizens of Halifax County but for those that are looking to explore Northeastern North Carolina. That brings other business opportunities when they come here.”

Said Kiger: “I see it as a way to bridge this riverfront enhancement project into our downtown area and you have (Interstate) 95 so you would hope to bridge the two together and all the business opportunities and possibilities in between.”