Herald 2022 Candidate Q and A – Farmville Mayoral Race
Published 12:30 pm Friday, October 14, 2022
As we move into October, early voting has already started and for those who want to wait, it’s less than a month until Election Day. With that in mind, the Herald is reaching out to candidates in all contested races across our coverage area, asking them to answer several questions. Each candidate in a race receives the same questions and the same amount of time to send answers in.
We start things off with the Farmville mayoral race. We have two candidates. Brian Vincent is the current representative for Ward B on town council, where he’s served since 2018. He’s also a co-owner of Appomattox River Company and a Region 2 board member for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, where he’s served since 2017.
Carl Eggleston is a former town council member, having served from 1984 to 1988. He’s also worked with the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce, Prince Edward County NAACP, Randolph Lodge #30 Masons, the Governor’s Commission on State Domestic Programs and the Carl Eggleston Foundation. He runs Oliver & Eggleston Funeral Establishment.
1. What is the biggest challenge facing Farmville and how would you address it?
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Brian Vincent: The most important challenge we face as a town, state, and country is the lack of civility and respect in public discourse. Hyper-partisan politics is grinding good governance to a halt in national and state politics. When that level of dysfunction hits the local level, core services are impacted. Our communities become less safe, less effective, and less attractive. As Mayor, I will hold “open office” times to hear from constituents directly about issues impacting them and hold Mayor Round-tables where all community stakeholders can share ideas and forge pathways forward. Let’s work together to do the most good for the most people.
Carl Eggleston: Continue to keep our young people in the community-reducing our brain drain. This can be addressed through more economic and job opportunities . I believe Longwood and Hampden- Sydney can help with this.
2. Over the last decade, we’ve seen Farmville’s population decline. How would you reverse that trend?
Carl Eggleston: More quality and affordable housing with quality jobs.
Brian Vincent: Rural small towns have faced population decline over the last decade. That trend is shifting to a degree as access to remote work increases and folks seek more affordable places to live. It is imperative that Farmville seizes this opportunity by offering affordable housing for young professionals and young families, while remaining a fantastic retirement location. We must continue to build up municipal outdoor opportunities and increase access to broadband, the essential service of the future.
I want to help our town seize the future with smart growth while celebrating our historic roots. With the advent of the Innovation Hub, the Splash Park, increased trail connectivity, Riverwalk proposals, etc, we are well on the way!
3. Current or planned projects will help improve broadband around town. What are other infrastructure improvements the town needs?
Brian Vincent: Broadband is the future. But during my term on council I have learned how dated our essential underground infrastructure is currently. Our sewer and water services need attention. These aren’t sexy projects, but a breakdown of this essential infrastructure would be very unattractive and destructive for our town. The town admin. is mapping out a plan to address these needs. We have federal funds available to start this important work and now is time to start updating the aging infrastructure under our town.
Carl Eggleston: Improving water systems with other avenues of water supply.
4. The current council is looking to change Farmville’s charter. In addition to the ones being discussed, are there any changes you would like to make?
Carl Eggleston: I am studying the Farmville Town Charter at this time and don’t have enough information to make recommendations yet.
Brian Vincent: The current charter is outdated. We have hired a law firm that specializes in helping localities update town charters. I’ve been happy with the process thus far and have no additional changes to propose. Council held a public hearing Oct 12 for discussion and public comment on the new town charter.
5. What role does Longwood University play in the town’s future?
Brian Vincent: Longwood is one of the big, central pieces to our community puzzle. It brings a vitality and spirit that helps Farmville stay fresh. The fact that we closed down Main St this past year to celebrate the historic seasons of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams is a sign of how much the university is a part of our town. They brought such a spotlight to our oasis amidst their amazing achievements.
The new convocation center, the Joan Perry Brock Center, is going to be a big value add not only for the university, but Farmville as well. The SEED Innovation Hub will be another fantastic value add. It will be a great entrepreneurial resource and give our town an opportunity to help foster future business leaders and innovators who may find Farmville the perfect place to launch their idea or business. Longwood and Farmville are great partners, and there is much more fruit to bear from that fertile ground.
Carl Eggleston: I believe Longwood will play a major role in the town’s future with regards to employment and economic impact.
6. What can Farmville do to better market itself to the rest of the Commonwealth and beyond?
Carl Eggleston: Enhancing public transportation, enhancing community /police relations, providing good quality housing especially home ownership, Providing open lines of communications between government and citizens and enhancing working relationships between town/colleges/counties.
Brian Vincent: Having served on council the last four years, I can attest that we have amazing partners in that area. The small businesses, the non-profits, civic groups, the Chamber, the Farmville Downtown Partnership and Prince Edward Co.: to name just a few. We have so many amazing community leaders that continue to put all their effort into this rising tide. There is fantastic opportunity to continue partnering with the county in this endeavor. What’s good for the Town is good for the county and vice versa.
As a small businessman on Main St, I attend tradeshows, workshops, conferences etc. As an elected official, I attend conferences, etc. Many folks from all the aforementioned entities do as well. I’d like to have regular community roundtables. Maybe once a quarter, where we get representatives from these organizations together to brainstorm ideas to move our community forward. We all come home from these conferences, brimming with ideas, and circulate them within our orgs. Let’s widen our brainstorming sessions and hone our collective vision. If you visit Farmville on the weekend, our streets are packed! Many small towns across the Commonwealth would love to be in our shoes. Let’s keep it going and growing!
7. What is your vision for Farmville? How would you like to see it change in the next 5-10 years?
Brian Vincent: As a father to two daughters, 8 and 11 years old, my mind naturally gravitates to the future. My philosophy is think long term, but act now. We have to start today in order to achieve the future. Let’s lean into our budding family friendly tourism destination achievements. Continuing to cultivate quality of life amenities will benefit everyone across the generations, while also supporting our businesses and schools. Let’s bring small scale manufacturing and wellness amenities to our downtown corridor.
Let’s continue recognizing and celebrating our Civil War to Civil Rights history. Imagine if the Moton Museum got the UNESCO World Heritage designation? That would be amazing! The Mary Branch Community Center has a chance to be revitalized. Interconnected multi-modal trail systems that link all of Farmville and the state park together are in our master plan. And Wilcks Lake recreation opportunities enhanced with a Pump Track, Splash Park, etc. Haynes St park revitalized and improved with walking trails, pavilions.
There is so much work to do. So many partnerships to grow. It’s an exciting time. Our leadership has to be bold and bursting with energy, and I’m ready for the job. We can work together, to strive with a collective vision, towards a future that lifts us all up. On Council I’m known for being easily accessible. I’m available 24 hours a day via social channels, emails and phone. Reach out anytime. Let me know what your vision is for Farmville and let’s get to work!
Carl Eggleston: Improved in public transportation, improved community relations, improved infrastructures, with good quality jobs markets and when citizens requests from our town officials are met promptly and adequately. I am looking forward to the day that we will truly be “One Farmville”.