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Christiansburg RALLY projects to help local businesses and create downtown park

A recent Zoom project meeting of the RALLY team.  Team members have utilized online teleconferencing to continue progress on the grant objectives.

In August 2019, Christiansburg was selected by Opportunity Southwest Virginia as a recipient of RALLY, a $3,000 mini-grant program. Since then, the dedicated group of residents working on the RALLY initiative has identified two unique projects on which to spend the $3,000 grant money, and work is moving forward.

These projects – a program to increase the online presence and marketing strategies of local businesses and the creation of a downtown pocket park – are aimed at making the community a better place to live, work and play.

Representatives from Downtown Christiansburg, Inc., the Town of Christiansburg and Opportunity Southwest Virginia are continuing to work with this core group of Christiansburg citizens on the next steps to bring these projects from concept to reality.

The selection of these projects came after weeks of collaboration and public engagement through RALLY stakeholder meetings and were chosen using several specific project criteria. The RALLY team wanted to ensure the selected projects could be executed in a timely manner, would fall within the established budget for the RALLY program and could be replicated throughout the Town of Christiansburg in the future.

The first selected project will aid local businesses in increasing their online presence and marketing efforts. The RALLY team identified Google’s business services as an effective platform to assist business owners in increasing their online presence. Google’s services, including the online business profile, mapping, and search engine optimization assistance, have all been identified as tools for businesses to utilize through this project.

Representatives from the RALLY team are coordinating with staff from Grow with Google to provide free, web-based training opportunities for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team is also working to coordinate an in-person training program once restrictions are lifted. More details about training opportunities will be shared by the RALLY team in the coming weeks.

RALLY’s second project will create a downtown pocket park at 100 W. Main Street. The park, created through a public-private partnership with the Town of Christiansburg and On Main Street, LLC, will create a community-designed public gathering space in the heart of downtown.

The RALLY team has contracted with Balzer & Associates, a local architecture and engineering firm, to design a dynamic park to serve all residents of the Town of Christiansburg. Initial surveying work has already been completed, and the RALLY team is developing a community survey to gather input on the look and feel of this new community asset.

Project updates can be found at www.downtownchristiansburg.org/rally. The RALLY team encourages members of the community to attend its regular project meetings, held via web-conferencing twice monthly. Contact etravis@downtownchristiansburg.org for more information on joining these meetings.

RALLY SWVA (Real Action Leadership Learning), a program of Opportunity Southwest Virginia, is an action learning mini-grant program that not only offers funds for a visible project, but also encourages local leaders and the community to work together toward a common goal of improving their community. RALLY Christiansburg is made possible through a partnership of the Town of Christiansburg and Downtown Christiansburg, Inc., a Virginia Main Street Commercial District Affiliate.

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