VINTON–Vinton Mayor Brad Grose, Town Manager Chris Lawrence, and Vinton Police Chief Ben Cook presented the “State of the Town” address to the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce (VACC) at their Membership Breakfast Meeting on November 14.
The Chamber in turn introduced a new board and a new President to those gathered at the Vinton War Memorial for the event. Several dignitaries from surrounding localities attended the meeting, which is held annually.
“We thank the Chamber for the positive impact they have on the quality of life here in Vinton through our expanding partnership,” said Mayor Grose.
Grose praised the Chamber for the new activities added in recent years, including Mingle at the Market, the Vinton Wine Festival, the Senior Expo, the Winter Concert at Woodland Place, and the New Year’s Eve Gala.
Those supplement the traditional events co-sponsored by the Town and the Chamber each year: the Dogwood Festival, Fall Festival, Downtown Trick or Treating, the Vinton Chamber Golf Tournament, and the Vinton Christmas parade.
The Mayor also briefed the Chamber on the ratcheting up of the downtown revitalization project with receipt of the $700,000 Community Development Block Grant last summer, and the Kick-Off meeting with state representatives from the state Department of Housing and Community Development last week. A contract should be signed and tangible results will begin to be seen in early 2013.
He also thanked the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors for funding the Architectural and Engineering phase of the proposed public library, which will be a vital element in revitalizing the downtown area. Mike Altizer, Vinton’s representative on the Board of Supervisors, urged the Board to allocate $567,900 for implementation of the project, which was subsequently approved at a September 25 meeting.
Mayor Grose applauded Southern States Cooperative’s Roanoke Feed Mill in Vinton, its manager Dave Jones, and their employees, for winning the “2012 Feed Mill of the Year” award, which recognizes the mill as the best in the industry throughout all of North America.
In concluding his portion of the address, Grose announced that only $19,000 remains to be raised to pay off the debt on the “High Ground” Vinton-Roanoke County Veterans Monument on the Vinton War Memorial grounds. Space has been found at the site for 140 more paver bricks, which can be purchased to honor or memorialize individuals or groups.
Vinton Town Manager Chris Lawrence briefed Chamber members on businesses which have opened or expanded in Vinton in the past year, including Sun Solutions vehicle graphics, W.C. Butler HVAC, Willow Tree primitive gifts, the Downtown Soul and Vinton Diner restaurants, Valley Monument, the relocation of Alert Driver Training, the Security Force call center, Wooly Belle craft and gifts, a national Verizon Wireless retail branch, and numerous home-owned businesses.
Lawrence also announced that “Bloop’ a frozen yogurt store with a branch on Route 220 in Roanoke, has plans to open in the near future at Lake Drive Plaza, as well as retailer Shoe Show in the old Blockbuster location.
Lawrence reported that the 1600 foot Wastewater Interceptor Replacement project along Glade Creek and Walnut Avenue will be completed in early 2013, just in time for VDOT’s construction of the new Walnut Avenue low water bridge which is slated to begin next summer.
The Town Manager also announced that the Town of Vinton has risen in the ranks to first place among all localities in the state of Virginia in recycling efforts. Sixty-six percent of refuse was recycled in 2011.
“The key to our recycling efforts is the partnership of area businesses,” said Lawrence.
He also briefed Chamber members on the major investment by Appalachian Power in making improvements to their system with the installation of new 138 kV lines to strengthen the power grid in Vinton and East Roanoke County.
In closing, Lawrence recognized additions to the Town staff in the past year: Gary Woodson, the new Public Works Director; Kevin Kipp, the new manager of the Vinton War Memorial; and Ryan Spitzer, the newly hired assistant to the Town Manager who will focus on economic development and serve as grant administrator for the downtown revitalization project.
Vinton Police Chief Ben Cook then thanked the Chamber of Commerce for their assistance in funding the new K-9 unit. Several local businesses and individuals made donations to the project, including Wood’s Service Centers, Vinton Roofing, Holdren’s Country Store, Shirley Patsel, Moe Mattox, and Connie Stanley.
Chief Cook also briefed Chamber members on a successful Drug Take Back initiative held recently in the Hardy Road Kroger parking lot which netted 126 pounds of discarded prescription drugs.
He described the addition of nine new Dodge Chargers to the police fleet of vehicles, the nine individuals who recently graduated from the Advanced Citizens Police Academy program, and a new Vinton Police website www.vintonpolice.com.
The meeting concluded with introduction of the new Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 2013, new officers, and the new Chamber president by outgoing president Sabrina Weeks.
Weeks has served as president of the VACC for the past three years. General funds for the Chamber increased from $80,000 to $152,000 annually during her tenure.
“My experience has been very rewarding, both personally and professionally, and I appreciate the support everyone has shown,” said Weeks. “I look forward to an exciting new year with the leadership of our upcoming president as we continue to make Vinton visible to the surrounding areas.”
VACC Board members for 2013 include: Brandt Harrell of Next Generation Designs, Tommy Wood of Wood’s Service Centers, Keith Liles of the Roanoke Times, Allison Finney of American Efficiency Inn and the Aqua-Net Swim Club, Shannon Duff of PFG, Kynn Deadrick of K & T Entertainment, Dr. Richard Turner, principal of William Byrd High School, Stephanie Brown of Southern Property Real Estate, Don Halliwill of Carilion, Joy Barlow of Cambria Suites, Chris Puckett of Super Dollar Foods, Jim Reynolds of Reynolds Grain, Mayor Brad Grose, Town Manager Chris Lawrence, Vinton Special Programs Director Mary Beth Layman, as well as Kathryn Sowers Executive Assistant for the Chamber, and Angie Lewis, the VACC Executive Director.
Liz Munn-Lively, an account executive with the Roanoke Times, has accepted the position as president of the Vinton Chamber. Todd Creasy of Neely’s Accounting will serve as first vice president, and Vinton attorney Bruce Mayer was elected second vice president.
“I am looking forward to the pleasure of serving the Vinton community through the Chamber during 2013,” said Munn-Lively. “We have an amazing staff and Board who are looking forward to an awesome year, also. Everything we do is for the community, and we could not give as much to the community without their support and help each day.”