The Town of Tappahannock selected Summit’s Planning department to assist with planning the Tappahannock Downtown Revitalization as part of Virginia’s Main Street Program. This plan, meant to address the community’s needs and assist with further economic development, was funded by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development in collaboration with Tappahannock Main Street.
Tappahannock is a historic town located on the south side of the Rappahannock River within the eastern portion of Essex County. Its geographical location in the Northern Neck of Virginia, near both Richmond and Fredericksburg, provides the Town with a unique opportunity for growth and development. To properly understand the needs of the Town, Summit’s Planning department took inventory of existing businesses and conditions, reviewed and analyzed survey data, held stakeholder meetings, and conducted further surveying in service to the project.
Through this analysis, the Planning team made some key determinations regarding the state of the Town; namely, that new development should be focused on the Downtown; that there is a great desire for expanded dining and social activity options; and that the Tappahannock riverfront is an underutilized asset.
The Summit Planning team then developed a strategy for revitalizing Tappahannock’s Downtown. The overall “Downtown Revitalization Plan” was organized into two parts: the “Economic Restructuring Plan” and the “Branding + Marketing Plan.” These two plans involved different aspects of revitalization and contained their own recommendations.
The “Economic Restructuring Plan” included:
- Reimaging Prince Street, a central hub of economic activity within the Town, as a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly avenue with increased seating availability and greenery.
- Developing a short- and long-term restructuring strategy at the waterfront that emphasizes entertainment and community amenities.
- Improving the nearby roadways of Queen Street and Church Lane to increase pedestrian safety as well as to reduce both traffic congestion and noise pollution.
- Emphasizing the construction and development of mixed-use facilities in Tappahannock’s Downtown.
Meanwhile, the “Branding + Marketing Plan” focused on increasing the visibility and attractiveness of Tappahannock as both a community and a destination. Suggestions for facilitating recognition and appeal include producing promotional materials, wayfinding signage, and establishing new community-oriented events.
The Tappahannock Downtown Revitalization Plan document also included two other components: the Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) and Environmental Record Review (ERR). Each included detailed information about proposed physical improvements that the Town could pursue pending additional funding.