City approves hazard mitigation plan

Radford also honored Dr. Annie Pearce for “service above self” at Tuesday’s meeting.


Radford Animal control office, Adele Katrovitz (left) put forward Dr. Annie Pearce (right) for the Robert Allen “Big Al” Hall Humanitarian Service-Above-Self Citizenship Award. Councilman Harshberger bestowed the award at the City Council meeting.

Freezing temperatures, flooding and high winds were ranked as hazards potentially having “high impact on our area” by the 2017 NRV Hazard Mitigation plan approved by the Radford City Council this week.

The NRV Hazard Mitigation plan is renewed every five years, and prepares the region for future events allowing localities to apply for funding for pre-disaster mitigation from the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

The plan represents 18 months of work by stakeholders and includes participation from Montgomery, Floyd, Giles, and Pulaski counties and Radford City as well as Virginia Tech and Radford University.

Christie Straight, Regional Planner from the New River Valley Regional Commission presented the 2017 plan to the City Council for approval.

Compared to the 2012 plan, the new 2017 plan moves ‘Wildfires’ from ‘Low’ risk in the 2012 plan to ‘Medium’ risk.

“Wildfire has been moved from a low to medium risk in the region both due to increased development next to forested areas and a greater awareness of more wildfires during the planning process – particularly the fires that happened in our area in fall 2016 and the larger, more devastating fires in Tennessee,” Straight explained in an email.

“While there is a greater risk, the Virginia Department of Forestry offers the “Firewise” program to work with these communities to mitigate and reduce the risks in both new development and existing neighborhoods. An example of that would be reducing the “fuel load” that can feed these fires,” she said.

Hazard Mitigation plans address pre-disaster hazards associated with preventing or minimizing physical, financial the effects of natural or manmade disasters, and Radford’s mitigation opportunities focused on the Little River Dam, water system threats, flooding and stormwater detention threats and storm basin drainage map improvements.

A number of improvements recommended in the 2012 plan have been made including storm drain map improvements, removing cross ties, the implementation of Code Red, a warning system for the Little River Dam, storm drainage improvements, and an inventory of city trees.

Following the presentation by Straight, the plan was unanimously adopted by the council, clearing the way for approval by FEMA.

Also during the evening, Dr. Annie Pearce, an Associate Professor in the Department of Building Construction and the Myers-Lawson School of Construction was presented with the Robert Allen “Big Al” Hall Humanitarian Service-Above Self Citizenship Award.

Councilman Harshberger read “Whereas”s listing Pearce’s accomplishments and honoring her service to Radford recognizing her as “a perfect example of a resident invested in the community,” Dr. Pearce and her students “are always brainstorming new and innovative ways to improve the quality of life for citizens in Radford.” The resolution thanked her for her dedication and service to the city, which was unanimously approved to loud applause.

The 2017 New River Valley Hazard Mitigation Plan ranks hazards to the region, identifies assets, recognizes opportunities, and plans to implement mitigation strategies on local and regional levels.

The mayor thanked Adele Katrovitz, Radford Animal Control Officer, for bringing Dr. Pearce to the attention of the council and encouraged the community to recommend their “hometown heroes”.

“One of the things we like to do is recognize the hometown heroes. And you all know who they are. If you have recommendation, we much prefer they come from you. We just ask that we let one of us know,” Mayor Brown said.

“History is gone, and once its gone, we tend to forget those people that made the difference so we appreciate the opportunity to recognize those contributions,“ he said.

Later, the 2017 Comprehensive Plan was adopted without public comment. Councilman Harshberger said he was glad a River Museum was listed in it.

“The New River is rich in its opportunities for research in all the ‘-ologies’,” he said, “and a wonderful magnet for economic development.”

New business included acceptance of the single bid from Altec Industry for a $137,000 bucket truck, replacing blinds at the Rec. Center, holiday bonuses to city workers, and a public hearing on Cigarette Ordinance 1696 reflecting a state change on refunding damaged city tax stamps.

The mayor took time to express his disappointment that the holiday parade had been cancelled. City Council minutes and agendas are posted on www.radfordva.gov/AgendaCenter.

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