Farmville Downtown Partnership looks to finish projects, add staff

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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Things are moving forward for the Farmville Downtown Partnership, with events being planned and grant money being distributed. The group also finds itself looking for a new executive director, as Nancy Alexander is stepping down. 

After starting in August 2022, Alexander has been at the helm for a number of projects over the last year. That includes relocating the Chamber offices from Third Street to the caboose in Downtown Plaza, getting the organization accredited with Main Street America and launching the successful Rock the Block festival, to name a few. During her time as director, the group also created a retail committee, to look at the needs of downtown retailers and help bring people into the stores. They also successfully applied for a facade grant, which we’ll talk more about later, helping building owners polish up the look of their property. And the Partnership over the last year also looked at empty buildings, specifically those like 109 and 111 North Main, studying how to best use them and what shops would be successful inside. 

Current Farmville Downtown Partnership President Jake Romaine said Alexander isn’t completely stepping away, but felt it was a good time for a change. 

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“She just wanted to step away,” Romaine said. “There’s no bad feelings, no animosity, nothing like that. She’s actually staying on to help us get through the facade grant. She’s still a part of the organization but in just a more limited role right now.”  

As for Alexander’s successor, the Partnership put out a call for applications and Romaine said they’ve been pleasantly surprised. 

“We have a bunch of applications,” Romaine said. “It’s a good problem to have. We have a lot of good candidates to choose from.” 

Looking to hire next month 

The group is doing preliminary interviews now, preparing candidates for the process, he added. “We want to set them up for success, we want to understand what these people know and how they can help us out,” Romaine said. “We want to know what skills they can bring to the team.” 

Then in March, the Partnership’s Organization Committee will start the next round of interviews, with a goal of narrowing the choices down by the second week. Romaine said he hopes by mid-March to have a new director in place. 

Alexander herself had plenty of experience when she came to Farmville. She had been in charge of special events at James Madison’s Montpelier estate, managed the Main Street program for the town of Orange, designed the Small Towns program for the state of Kentucky and served as the statewide Main Street program manager in Kentucky.

“It’ll be a tough decision,” Romaine said of finding Alexander’s successor. 

In addition to bringing on a new director, the group is also currently fundraising for the next edition of their Rock the Block event. This time around, it’ll be held on Saturday, Oct. 5. And Romaine said the group is looking for sponsors. 

Farmville Downtown Partnership in building business

But the biggest project that the Partnership is currently working on involves buildings. Seven of them, to be exact. In fact, seven downtown buildings were chosen for those facade grants we mentioned earlier, using the Virginia Main Street Program. In the fall of 2023, the Partnership received $50,000 and was required to match it with $25,000 of in-kind donations. We’re talking volunteer time, as well as money. 

First, they put together a design guidelines booklet. It details the history of Farmville’s downtown buildings, outlines historic renovation practices and provides information about the sign ordinance, what is and isn’t allowed. If you want to read this, by the way, you can at

Then, they invited building owners to apply for funding. By Jan. 16, the group received 12 applications. They narrowed that down to seven and started handing out the awards. Here’s a look at the work happening at each building. 

  • 308 North Main Street – Poplar Sips and ACCN LLC – Replacing second floor windows with replicated wood windows and painting exterior trim with new color palette.
  • 214 North Main Street – Harlan L. Horton PC – Repointing masonry, repairing damaged wood and second floor windows, repainting exterior trim.
  • 225 North Main Street – Kairos Counseling – Replacing awning.
  • 140 North Main Street – Kiss of Ink – Painting exterior in historic colors to enhance the architectural character of the building and adding a second floor mural to show historic features of the building.
  • 136-138 North Main Street – Kamp Hiraya and Southern and Wild – Painting exterior in historic colors to show architectural character of the building and reopening windows on second floor (windows are not a part of the grant award).
  • 117 North Main Street – Terri Atkins Wilson, PC – Painting front façade to show architectural character of the building.
  • 108-110 4th Street – Dr. Diane Aslanis – Painting exterior trim and adding an awning and installing new panels above and below storefront windows.

Now the work will be starting over the next month, with the Farmville Downtown Partnership requiring all the work to be finished by early September.