Martinsville is the second largest city in the West Piedmont Planning District, having an estimated population of 13,551, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 – 2016 American Community Survey. Historically, the Martinsville area’s employment base had been industrial, with a focus on furniture production. Over the past several decades, however, much of this employment shifted to the service sector as globalization resulted in the loss of this traditional sector of employment.
Today, Martinsville’s employment base is dominated by the services sector, which includes the health care industry, education, and other subsectors. The retail industry represents the second largest employment sector in the city. Manufacturing is once again playing a larger role in the area, as Patriot Centre Industrial Park and Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre – both nearby in Henry County – add employment.
The City of Martinsville offers numerous cultural, dining, and shopping opportunities. The Virginia Museum of Natural History – a Smithsonian institution – showcases numerous artifacts from pre-historic Virginia. Piedmont Arts houses various works of art, and hosts lectures, performances, and educational activities; and the Rives Theatre and TheatreWorks, host locally-based live theatrical productions. Numerous dining opportunities are available throughout uptown Martinsville and in surrounding areas of the city, and local shops can be found in uptown Martinsville as well as in and near the Village of Martinsville, which is the city’s main shopping center.
Martinsville’s transportation system is becoming more multimodal. In addition to the city’s street and sidewalk network, the City, in conjunction with Henry County, manages PART (Piedmont Area Regional Transit) – a transit system providing service via three routes throughout the city and parts of Henry County. This bus service operates on a deviated fixed-route basis, meaning that its routes are fixed, but the driver will deviate up to ¾-mile off the route. The hours of this service are Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., and the fare is $0.50. More information can be found at http://www.martinsville-va.gov/residents/bus-system-p-a-r-t. The Dick & Willie Passage Trail, a rail trail occupying the former right-of-way of the Danville and Western Railroad, traverses the city from approximately Virginia Avenue, near the City Limit, approximately 4.5 miles east to Mulberry Creek, located just east of the City Limit. The trail is in the process of incrementally being extended from its eastern terminus to the Smith River Sports Complex. Additionally, the City is working to make its transportation system – such as the Fayette Street corridor – more walkable and bikeable.