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Reidsville’s March city council meeting spotlights potential EPA-sponsored construction project
Architectural rendering of proposed streetscape.
Architectural rendering of proposed streetscape.

By the time Reidsville’s March 11, 2024,  meeting officially began at 5  p.m., the city hall was overflowing with people, in part, because of a day-long presentation that had already attracted numerous residents an hour earlier. The presentation, which was structured as an interactive question-and-answer session, served to unveil a prospective constructive project aimed to beautify and renovate Reidsville, as well as provide defense against flood protection and other natural disasters. Should the project commence according to plan, it will be funded by the Community Change Equitable Resilience Technical Assistance Initiative provided by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is specifically designated for disadvantaged and disaster-prone communities.

This initiative provides individual grants of $10 to $20 million from a $2 billion sum offered as a component of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The Anthropocene Alliance (A2), a non-profit organization, will serve as grant writers in the project, and the New Orleans-based landscaping and architecture company Spackman Mossop Michaels (SMM) will help oversee the actual construction of this project.

The plan will concentrate on three specific areas of town: the city’s dilapidated armory, a downtown streetscape, and a small park that would be built near the former ReidsvilleElementary School building. These areas will also feature “rain gardens,” or diverted storm water that will be rerouted from flooded areas of town through ditches. 

The renovated armory would be used both as a community center and a disaster relief shelter, where residents would be provided with electricity, food, and shelter, should their homes be rendered unsafe by a natural disaster. There are two different potential designs for both the park and the armory, in part, because Tracy Armitage and Emily Bullock, two SMM representatives, had yet to finish receiving feedback from local residents. All of the potential designs were shown on large panels for visitors to see, which were each accompanied by explanations as to how the project would be funded and directed.

This project has been in the works since 2021, when Reidsville resident Jacqueline “Jackie” Jones—whose tireless advocacy recently made her the subject of a U.S. News article—initially reached out to A2 in the hopes of rectifying the city’s flooding program. After A2 commissioned an 11-week study from Sherwood Design Engineers on what environmental factors led to flooding in the area, the non-profit then further marshaled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, operating pro bono in collaboration with the Georgia Silver Jackets flood mitigation team, to provide the city with data surrounding where and how flooding affects the area; this data was also presented at the meeting, courtesy of Army Corps representative Pamela Burkus. Should this project secure the proper funding—and, according to Tracy Armitage, it almost certainly will—construction would likely take only three years to complete. Given that final applications for the EPA grant are due in November of this year, the project would likely commence in the near future.

This announcement was warmly received by many of the Reidsville residents present at the meeting; Ernest Armstrong, who oversees the town’s Surrency-Atkins playground, states that he was enthused by the new amenities such projects would bring to the town. 

This is not to say, however, that the citizens were without questions, all of which Armitage, Bullock, and A2 representative Daniela “Dani” Garcia Moreno answered to the best of their abilities. The team said that the grant budget would account for potentially purchasing various properties included in the project, should this be legally required. The team also reported that, while salaries for the jobs provided by these projects would initially be funded by the EPA grant, after the grant’s expiration, the city of Reidsville would need to apply for additional funds. The team noted that, should the grant not cover all three individual projects, the streetscape remodeling would likely be eliminated from the plan. (Ernest Armstrong, despite his encouraging remarks, disapproved of this caveat, stating that a lack of immediate curb appeal would discourage passersby from potentially visiting Reidsville.)

While Armitage, Bullock, and Garcia Moreno’s presentation was obviously the focus of the meeting, it was hardly the only item on the council’s agenda.

Brandon Parker, continuing the progress made on his housing construction project, was present for the approval of funding for the plan, a Cityscape grant that could potentially be valued at $1.5 million. The council also approved an alcohol license for a local business, as well as a rezoning from residential to commercial for a 117 James Street property. Furthermore, the council approved insurance coverage for children participating in fundraisers at the town red light, as well as a similar motion for insurance coverage for an upcoming park event.

Besides these decisions, the council also heard proposals from various city departments. The police department, after introducing new officer Forest Heath, requested funding for new body cameras, which would come in a purchase of either six ($22,736) or nine cameras ($32,290), both of which would last for five years. Though the police department does not currently need nine body cameras, should the department eventually be fully staffed, nine cameras would be necessary; thus, the council approved the nine-camera purchase. Additionally, Public Works Supervisor Rodney DeLoach offered options to the city council to either replace or buy a new pump, both of which would cost approximately $15,000; the council opted to buy a new pump


The council provided the public with a couple of noteworthy announcements, too. Mayor Vickie Nail was proud to state that the council’s long process of reviewing an audit from the 2021–22 financial period would be completed within a day’s time, which would allow the council to henceforth make financial decisions much more quickly. Additionally, on a less enthusiastic note, City Clerk Nivea Jackson notified the public that water bills will no longer be mailed on card stock, and will instead be sent through letters for the time being.

As usual, the city’s department heads read their monthly reports to the council. For the month of February, the police department reported 3 accidents, 317 calls, 43 vehicle stops, 15 tickets, 25 warnings, and 48 miscellaneous incidents, as well as $1,676 in fines and $2,064 in probation payments. The fire department, as presented by the city council, reported 13 Life Star alerts, 1 smoke alarm, 2 structure incidents, and 7 brush fires.


Architectural rendering of proposed streetscape.