The Banister River Gateway Project
Kings Bridge Landing
The Banister River Gateway Project has attracted statewide attention as it ties in with the recently designated Scenic River portion of the Banister River. Working with the Roanoke River Basin Association and neighboring counties, the Town of Halifax hopes to market the area to paddlers in the Richmond and NC Research Triangle areas as well as areas even further away. Flowing through largely agricultural and forested land from Pittsylvania County to its confluence with the Dan River in Halifax County, this 38.4 mile segment of the Bannister River possesses a number of interesting aesthetic features including in‐stream and stream‐side rock formations and a stunning view in time to early river navigation and settlement. A canoe launch and other facilities for the preservation of scenic and historic sites, the promotion of historic transportation structures, the interconnectivity of neighborhoods and commercial areas in addition to environmental and recreational improvements along the Banister River create a gateway into the historic county seat of Halifax.
Improvements include bridge streetlights, a gateway sign, and a wayside with lighted parking which provide interpretive signage, a river overlook near the old King's Bridge stone piers, river access as part of the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway (SVWB) regional canoe trail system and future trailhead to the Tobacco Heritage Trail.
Hill Studio PC, the project designer, and The 1717 Design Group, Hill's environmental graphics consultant, collaborated on the initial placemaking strategy which involved making the landing's hardscape in a fish‐shaped form that will be immediately identifiable to landing visitors seeking directions via GPS satellite images. 1717 was also responsible for designing gateway signage for the Town as well as a masonry site sign and interpretive kiosk that references the fieldstone piers of the old bridge that are still visible at the landing. Halifax County has always been closely associated with tobacco, historically ranking near the top of the tobacco‐producing counties in Virginia and the United States. To honor that heritage, 1717 designed custom finials with a gilded 23 karat gold‐leaf finish to top off the new Town of Halifax's gateway signs. The finials feature a stylized bundle of golden tobacco leaves with a classical frieze of tobacco flowers surrounding the base. A dedication event for the project will be scheduled to coincide with the town's Earth Day Extravaganza Celebration in April 2015.