Longwood bookstore move is positive

Published 2:31 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The move of Longwood University’s bookstore from Midtown Square to the former First National Bank Building at the northeast corner of Main and Third streets is going to change downtown Farmville for the better.

We applaud the community effort to make the move possible, led by the Downtown Farmville Partnership, involving Longwood University, Walk2Campus Properties, Barnes and Noble and the university’s real estate foundation.

The foot and vehicular traffic of students, visitors and members of the community will increase substantially once the bookstore and coffee shop open, which is potentially transformative for downtown.

Email newsletter signup

We think it’s wonderful that private enterprise and a public entity can work together for the benefit of the community. The old bank building — prime real estate in Farmville — is finally being put to substantial use after several years of sitting empty.

Walk2Campus Properties, in particular, should be commended for its willingness to enhance downtown Farmville in working with the college and its real estate foundation.

“The building is key to downtown and has been studied by numerous developers over time,” said Matt King, president of Walk2Campus. “Were it not for the collective community effort this year, the status would not have changed.”

The announcement has drawn skepticism. Through social media, some have questioned accessibility of the building, parking, pedestrian safety and Longwood’s encroachment off of main campus into town.

Would critics rather see the building sit unoccupied, and Longwood students and members of the community go elsewhere for books, coffee and food instead of walking up and down the sidewalks — spurring other business for other merchants?

We don’t think so.