Survey underway to determine future needs, wants in Halifax County

Survey will help county's chamber of commerce develop a strategic plan

HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. – In South Boston on Tuesday, people were eager to share their thoughts on how to move the county forward.

Business owner and Halifax County native Johnathan Pumphrey would like to see more restaurants in South Boston.

"Just a good restaurant downtown. We just don't have something like that," Pumphrey said. "Everything is spread throughout the county. (It would be nice) for downtown to have a traditional Halifax County restaurant."

Halifax County resident Ron Thomas said a restaurant that serves up what he calls real food, not fast food, would be nice.

"Mashed potatoes, collard greens, string beans, smothered pork chops. Not fried chicken all the time," Thomas said.

Affordable housing and road improvements are also at the top of his priority list.

Halifax County residents Moses Williams and Joseph Brooks want to see more recreational opportunities for kids and elderly residents and more people taking an interest in getting kids involved in recreational activities.

"Give them something to do. But see, there's a whole lot of people that don't want to bother with the kids," Williams said.

They'd also like a park close to South Boston because a lot of people don't have a way to travel the roughly 17 miles to Staunton River State Park.

"Everybody around here doesn't have transportation. We've all got to get in one car and go out there. If we had something around here, we wouldn't have to do that," Brooks said.

Pumphrey wouldn't mind a park.

"A park downtown or maybe a community pool," Pumphrey said.

The county's chamber of commerce is working on creating a new strategic plan for the county because the current plan, created in 2004, expires in 2020.

"It's a grassroots effort trying to involve our community; as many people as possible through focus groups, interviews, an online survey," chamber President Mitzi McCormick said.

Grey Watson is one of three co-chairs overseeing the strategic planning process.

She said 2018 is the right time to develop a new strategic plan for the county.

"We feel like, in 2018, we need to look at a new road map, as things have changed in both our economy and our community," Watson explained.

The goal is to have the plan finalized in March.