In January, city officials unveiled improvements to the uptown street, which was shifted about 10 to 15 feet to make way for further improvements.
About a month ago, improvements began on an old parking lot off Depot Street, behind the TheatreWorks Community Players BlackBox Theatre.
Retaining walls have been installed and grading work has been completed on the parking lot, according to Chris Morris, city engineer and administrator of the Depot Street project.
Next to be done is curb and gutter work, paving, lighting and landscaping in the parking lot, he said.
The improvements also will include steps leading to TheatreWorks and crosswalks, Morris said.
The improvements will cost $250,000 and are funded by The Harvest Foundation, he said.
The project has been “moving along nicely,” and everything is on schedule, he said, adding that the project should be complete by the end of August.
The purpose is to provide more parking for New College Institute students as well as for visitors to the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center & Museum in the old courthouse, TheatreWorks and the Uptown Spur Trail, he said.
This parking lot is at the main trailhead of the spur trail, he added.
Previously, the parking lot was not well lit, and it wasn’t as attractive or accessible, Morris said.
In the last few weeks, a restroom was installed at the trailhead, and there are plans to place a different roof on it to make it more attractive, said Interim City Manager Leon Towarnicki.
In addition, a landscaping project in the front and sides of Courthouse Square is ongoing. That work is funded by the Garden Club of Virginia in cooperation with the Historical Society of Martinsville and Henry County.
The project originally was scheduled to be completed at the end of this month. But the date now is uncertain because of delays caused by the weather and deliveries of supplies, according to Debbie Hall, executive director of the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society.
More construction soon will take place west of the old courthouse as part of a Community Development Block Grant from the state, Towarnicki said.
The planned projects through the block grant include installation of facades on business fronts, park areas, a new system of signs to direct visitors to uptown attractions and landscaping improvements at intersections, he added.
Design plans currently are being done for those projects, and bidding for the facade work will begin at the end of this month, according to Susan McCulloch, community planner for the city. She added that the city is working on easements for the planned park areas.
The block grant projects have a completion deadline of Nov. 31, 2013, McCulloch said.
All of the improvements are designed to enhance and improve the entire uptown area, Towarnicki said.