The Town of Vinton celebrated the re-opening of the downtown area at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 29 at the Farmers’ Market stage. The town incorporated the ceremony into the Dogwood Festival events already scheduled for the day.
Town Manager Barry Thompson noted that there was no more fitting time than during the 62nd Dogwood Festival and at the newly renovated Farmers’ Market stage to celebrate the completion of the renovations to the downtown business district.
“This is just the beginning for Vinton,” said Thompson. “Vinton is the ‘In’ place to be.”
He mentioned the opening of the new library in 2015, the re-development of Roland E. Cook Elementary and the former William Byrd High School into upscale apartments, the transformation of the old library into a Macado’s restaurant, and the full calendar of events planned at various Vinton venues during the remainder of the year as signs that Vinton is on its way.
The town received $700,000 for downtown revitalization from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) provided by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in 2012. The grant has funded new streetlamps, new streetscapes and furniture, new wayfinding and gateway signage, new storefront facades, and a newly renovated Farmers’ Market stage. It has also provided funding to local entrepreneurs through a Revolving Loan Program which will continue on.
In his remarks, Douglas Jackson, the program administrator from the DHCD, stated that Vinton “invested in the heart of the community, making it into a gathering place and a market place” with the ultimate goal of using public investment of funds to, in the end, “encourage private investment,” by helping to attract, expand, and retain businesses, to “tell a new story in Vinton.”
Assistant Town Manager Richard “Pete” Peters, who has shouldered the burden of much of the day-to-day work on the project, thanked the DHCD staff for their guidance and support. He thanked the Downtown Management Team, including town staff, local business owners, and citizens, who provided the framework and planning for various aspects of the Revitalization Project.
He thanked the contractors and consultants who worked on the project, including:
- David Hill, Hunter Greene, and Ashleigh Marshall from Hill Studio for their involvement, especially with the Farmers’ Market Stage and storefront façade improvements
- Inland Construction and AEP for their work on streetlamps and utilities
- Elevation Advertising for the “InVinton” branding
- 4DD Design Studio and Jim McGeorge for the Vinton sign at the Farmers’ Market stage
- Renaissance Lighting and Furniture (Troy Cook, Tom Wasicki, and their team) for production of the park benches, planters, and trash containers
- Save on Signs with Keith Martin for the wayfinding and gateway signage
- TBS Construction with Jay Gauldin and Clinton Montgomery for their work on the Farmers’ Market Stage
- TAS Design (Todd Setliff and his team) for their work on storefront façade construction
- Tonya Weaver Kirk for painting and design of various parts of the project, especially the market stage
In addition, Peters thanked property and business owners who participated in the façade improvement and Revolving Loan program including:
- Andy and Jason Bishop, and Barry Robertson (Twin Creeks Brewing Company)
- Stephanie Brown-Meade (Edward Jones restoration at 103 East Lee Street)
- Frank and Janine Stone (Cornerstone Antiques)
- Judy Cunningham (Post Office)
- Bruce Mayer (Star City Playhouse, OMA Training at 109 South Pollard Street, TCBC at 111 South Pollard, Star City Playhouse at 107 South Pollard, and Asia Gourmet at 126 East Lee Avenue)
Finally, Peters thanked the Town of Vinton staff who “assisted in so many ways along the way”:
- Susan Johnson, Town Clerk and Executive Assistant
- Anita McMillan, Director of Planning and Zoning
- Public Works Director Joey Hiner, along with Bo Herndon, Jason Davison, and their Public Works crews
- Lydia Verdillo, Anne Cantrell, and Gina Marie Overstreet with the Finance Department
- Mary Beth Layman, Special Programs Director
Mayor Brad Grose added in his closing remarks that every department in the town was involved in one way or another with the revitalization project and its successful completion. He thanked Roanoke County and the DHCD for partnering with the town on the project. He also emphasized that while the grant changed the face of Vinton, it also “ignited a fire” in Vinton and was the catalyst for the many exciting improvements which have happened since.
“This is not the finish, but the start of the new Vinton,” said Grose. “The best is yet to be.”