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  • Bridgewater to talk about The Sipe Center and Gen-Oak connector

    Tuesday, May 08, 2018

    ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- On Tuesday, May 8, the Bridgewater Town Council meeting will include a presentation regarding The Sipe Center.

    The Sipe Center will hold a movie theater for the community with about 200 seats.

    After deeming it a public safety threat, Bridgewater purchased and tore down the old buildings at 100 North Main Street in August.

    The town says it has three goals for the Sipe Center.

    They want to create a new iconic structure for an iconic property, entertain and enhance the lives of Bridgewater residents and relieve overcrowding in the town's police department's current offices.

    "On Tuesday nights, there would be no movies," said Bob Holton, assistant town manager of public works. "That's when we would reserve the building for council meetings, planning commission, that sort of thing."

    People can see movies for free with a B-Rec card.

    The new building would create new space for town council business, providing more space for other departments.

    "We would allow the police to expand on the first floor in the current town hall," Holton said, "and the Treasurer's Office could expand too."

    The estimated cost for the Sipe Center is just under $1.2 million, and Holton says it's doable.

    "The town has some land that we hope to sell," he said. "And if we sell that, that should cover more than half of the cost. The rest of it will just be paid for through profits so to speak, from selling concessions and tickets at the theater."

    Bridgewater hopes to have a similar model to that of Generations Park for the movie theater. There's also a possibility of live music there.

    The old buildings dated back to the 1860s, and were alternately used as "Avery and Sipe," "Sipe's Store," "Robson's," "Food Lane," "C & S Hardware," "BAS Clothing," a video store, sign shop, offices and a church.

    Holton says the town is hoping to have The Sipe Center built by this time next year.

    The Bridgewater Town Council meeting on May 8 also includes an update on the Gen-Oak Connector Project.

    The Gen-Oak connector is a sidewalk that will be installed from Generations Park on Liberty Street to connect to existing sidewalks on Mount Crawford Avenue. The project also includes a permeable paver path along Mount Crawford Avenue, connecting the Bridgewater North River Library and Oakdale Park.

    "There's a good bit of traffic here so to have sidewalks would make it safer to walk along here," said Alexander Wilmer, assistant town manager. "We've had residents in the retirement community right over here who have asked for sidewalks, so this will give them safer access to Oakdale Park, to the library, and to Main Street."

    The $255,000 project will be fully funded through a V-DOT grant, and Wilmer expects work to begin in early 2020.


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