Downtown Lynchburg will see major changes this summer

The City of Lynchburg is slated to continue its Downtown Renewal Project in July

LYNCHBURG, VA – The City of Lynchburg is about to undergo its fourth phase to renew its downtown area in July.

Construction will take place on Main Street from the 1200 block to the Lynchburg Expressway. The city plans to finish the project in 2026.

Lynchburg is calling this project the Downtown Renewal Project. It’s been making changes to its downtown area for the past eight years. Some of the past projects include work done on Main Street, Church Street and Commerce Street between 5th and 9th Street.

The overall goal of the Downtown Renewal Project is to upgrade its waterlines because they are more than 100 years old. It also wants to improve its streets by installing new crosswalks, pavements, park benches and intersections.

“We’re also looking at it as a gateway entrance into the city off of the expressway. So, the streetscape improvements will certainly look at that and make it a nice clean entrance into the city,” Chief Engineer Scott Parkins with the City of Lynchburg’s Water Resources.

When asked how much the project would cost, Parkins said he wasn’t sure because they have not received the cost yet from the contractor. He did say it could cost millions of dollars. There will also be a phase five. However, Parkins isn’t sure where that construction will take place.

“We will probably look to start that decision making in the next year, so that we can move into the design phase, so that it will be ready for construction in 2026 or 2027,” said Parkins.

The Downtown Renewal Project is slated to affect more than 17 businesses and companies in the Community Market.

Lexi and Lee is just one of those businesses that will see impacts.

“We rely a whole lot on foot traffic, and even the slightest thing like a rainy day can be detrimental and deter people away. So, we’re hoping to have initiatives to have more people in the door even with construction, but inevitably, I do think it’s gonna slow down a little bit,” said Assistant Manager Aidan Daniel with Lexi and Lee.

Daniel also said they plan on coming up with creative ways to bring more customers into Lexi and Lee during construction.

“We’re trying to get events going on in the shop like paint by numbers night, and we have a closet swap that we do with local women where they share their clothes, just trying to get people to shop online as well,” said Daniel.

Rise Up Climbing is also worried about how construction will hurt its business.

“It will prevent people from coming from areas like Forest or other areas of town getting off the expressway and coming up here because they won’t be able to reach us without taking a massive roundabout way to get here,” said Owner JB Askew with Rise Up Climbing.

Askew also said he is worried about foot traffic and pedestrians that might come into his business.

“Potentially, that’s something that I am concerned about, but I think that the city is trying to find a good way to do this in sections. Previous years they’ve shut down a lot of Main Street all at once, but now they are trying to approach this block by block,” said Askew.

The City of Lynchburg said it plans to avoid construction during Christmas time to help businesses.

It’s working with the Downtown Lynchburg Association to speak with businesses about the project. The City of Lynchburg is hosting a meeting tomorrow at 6 pm at the Community Market.

About the Author

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

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