The Radford City Council continues to work on comprehensive economic development, and at its regular meeting Monday night unanimously approved an incentive initiative to encourage investment.
The resolution said, “the city council…recognizes the many benefits and legitimate purposes served by providing incentives to promote economic development within the city, including attracting new businesses and the expansion of existing ones, job creation, higher wages, greater capital investments and improvements, increased tax revenues, and an enhanced community and local economy.”
The Economic Development Authority unanimously adopted the plan at its October meeting. It “provides for grants to eligible businesses based upon real estate tax payments made after an investment in real property and, fundamentally, intends to promote higher levels of investment in real property by offering larger grants for investments that increase the property’s value above certain levels,” the resolution stated.
“This economic incentive plan should help jumpstart new large investment [half a million to 12 million dollars was mentioned during the meeting] in Radford and bring new businesses to our city,” said Mayor David Horton in a press release. “We are excited to help Radford grow and look forward to additional programs that we will be working to help develop over the coming months that should enhance opportunities for businesses of all sizes.”
The Radford City Economic Development Authority will work to “develop, implement, and administer the plan along with specific terms and conditions including necessary applications, regulations, rules, procedures and performance standards for qualifying applicants,” the press release said.
“The board is working to finalize the terms and conditions and appreciates City Council’s support to offer a package that encourages development and investment in the City of Radford,” said EDA Chairperson Flo Graham in the press release.
“The EDA Board of Directors has reviewed the proposal and has determined the incentive plan is appropriate to support the economic vitality of the city,” she said.
At the council meeting, Horton said, “One of the best parts about this concept is that it is a package that comes with its own payment; it finds a way to pay for itself. Because it’s based on new money coming into the city of Radford, we can take a little bit of that money and give it back to the developer as an incentive to get businesses in those buildings. It also doesn’t go into effect unless someone is actually in there. This is not just for a shell building to go up and sit there for years and years and hope that someone will come along; it’s created so that it’s triggered by someone actually coming in and being in the business and bringing those meals and sales and equipment taxes and jobs and all those things that improve the Radford economy.”
Horton said that if there are developers out there looking for this kind of opportunity, they should contact Blair Hoke, the director of economic development, for more information. He also said additional details would be shared in the future.
At Monday’s meeting, the city council approved a proclamation requesting all citizens to observe Veterans Day on November 11, 2018. The proclamation quoted the first Veterans Day Proclamation signed by President Eisenhower: “Let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on the foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
Horton asked all of the veterans in the audience to please stand, and they were given a round of applause in honor of their service. The proclamation was then presented to four members of the Radford VFW who also had led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance earlier: Butch Albert, Gary Harris, Eugene Grayson, Jr. and John Fox.
The city council honored BT’s restaurant, which has been in business in Radford for 35 years, with a special resolution. Horton said, “[BT’s] has been more than just a restaurant, more than just a gathering place; it’s really been a centerpiece of the community for 35 years.”
Before reading the resolution, Vice-Mayor Dick Harshberger said, “I am particularly pleased to do this; I was there 35 years ago—where did the time go—for the opening of this restaurant.” The resolution said, in part, “the Radford City Council encourages all citizens to join BT’s in celebrating their 35 years in business by joining them for food, fun, and friends.”
The council then invited Tom and Diane Whitehead to come forward and accept the resolution for their business. Councilman Rob Gropman added, “‘Food, fun, and friends’ is BT’s tagline, but I want to add family to that. Tom and Diane, you have been a steadfast business, and you are a giant part of the Radford family.”
Tom Whitehead said, “the foundation of the business has been the local people, and the icing on the cake has been the students.” Referring to RU’s homecoming last weekend he said, “After 35 years, we had the busiest weekend we’ve ever had.”
BT’s is having a recognition get together today from 5-7 p.m., and everyone is welcome. In closing, Whitehead thanked everyone for the honor and recognition.
For the Reflection section of the meeting, Mayor Horton recognized Luther Dickens, who passed away on September 30, 2018. Dickens was a veteran and the founder of RADVA Corporation in 1962, which designs and manufactures protective and temperature-sensitive packaging and shapes. “If there was ever anything that needed to be done [in Radford], Luther helped head it up and move things forward…and he and his family certainly have enhanced the City of Radford and have made it the kind of place where you want to live,” Horton said.
During Citizen Comments, Pat Fluke, chairperson for the Beautification and Municipal Forestry Commission for Radford, invited everyone to come to Wildwood Park on Saturday, November 3, from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. to help with a cleanup, especially with materials clogging the stream flow. About 25 Radford University students will be there, but more citizens are needed to help out and are welcome.
Corporals Emily Hite and Eric Martin of the police department reported on the Nicole Smith 5K run/walk. Over 150 people participated, and over $10,000 was raised for the American Heart Association in honor of Smith. They thanked Radford High School for help in putting on the event since it had to be moved from Bisset Park at the last minute due to flooding. They also thanked the RU Greek organizations, local businesses and the residents who came out. This run/walk was the first annual event, and they felt it went very well. They plan to continue it in the future.
A smiling Lynn Burris provided the city with ten mega lottery tickets for economic development that he said might be worth 1.6 billion dollars if one is a winner.
Samantha Newcome, the owner of Pazar, thanked the city council for the economic development incentive her business received last year saying that it helped very much. She also congratulated BT’s for its continued success.
John Ashley spoke about issues between his family and the city years ago.
The city council approved holding a public hearing on the division of the East Voting Precinct into two separate precincts: the East Precinct and the New River Precinct. The reason for the division of the East Precinct is because of a large number of registered voters (5448 as of Monday’s meeting, and perhaps the largest precinct in Southwest Virginia) in the present precinct. The city wants to make sure that residents have appropriate access to voting and to plan for the future because of probable residential growth in that area.
The New River Precinct will have the following boundary: All the geographical area in the City lying east and north of Tyler Avenue beginning at a point where Tyler Avenue and Rock Road intersect at the Radford City, Montgomery County boundary; thence generally northwest at the centerline of Tyler Avenue to the intersection of East Main Street; thence following the centerline of East Main Street to the intersection of University Drive; thence northeast along the centerline of University Drive to the intersection of Pulaski Street; thence following the centerline of Pulaski Street to the unimproved portion of Pulaski Street straight to the centerline of the New River and the boundary with Pulaski County; thence following the boundary line between Radford City and the counties of Pulaski and Montgomery back to the point of origin. The polling place for the New River Precinct will be the Grove United Methodist Church at 1020 Tyler Avenue.
The East Precinct will have the following boundary: All of the geographical area of the city east of Connally’s Run Branch from the confluence of the New River south along Connally’s Run Branch and Park Road to the city limits at Rock Road; thence east along the city limits to the centerline of Tyler Avenue at the intersection of Tyler Avenue and Rock Road at the Radford City, Montgomery County boundary; thence following the centerline of Tyler Avenue in a generally northwest direction to the intersection of East Main Street; thence east along the centerline of Main Street to the intersection of University Drive; thence northeast along the centerline of University Drive to the intersection of Pulaski Street; thence to the unimproved portion of Pulaski Street in a straight line to the centerline of the New River; thence returning west along the centerline of the New River to the confluence of Connally’s Run Branch and the New River. The polling place for the East Precinct will continue to be the Radford Recreation Building.
The council unanimously approved the motion to hold a public hearing on the voting precinct changes during the Tuesday, November 13, 2018 city council meeting.
During council member comments, Councilwoman Naomi Huntington mentioned sitting in on a Virginia Tech class related to infrastructure. She toured with the class throughout various areas of Radford such as the dam, firehouse, etc. The class will share ideas about Radford in the future. When the class asked her what she was proud of about Radford, she shared the recent “Radford Gives Back” and Nicole Smith Run/Walk events as examples of how the citizens of Radford come together.
Gropman shared information from the Community Services board meeting. With Medicaid expansion, the board will be losing about $425,000. Later, Horton speculated that since more people will receive services through Medicaid, less money will be necessary for use from Community Services for medical services, thus a possible shift in funding. SAMSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will be giving Community Services a federal grant for almost 4 million dollars to provide community-based mental health and substance abuse services. Gropman also mentioned that K-9 Max, a Radford Police dog, is in the running for a grant, and citizens can go to the Radford City Police webpage to vote for him.
Harshberger said that homecoming went very well, and the level of involvement by the city and citizens was wonderful. He also said that the “Walk to Freedom” committee (Mary Draper Ingles outdoor drama) had a strategic planning session and stakeholders gave great input. He said the committee is working hard at planning for the next five years to make the program very sustainable.
Councilwoman Jessie Critterton gave an update on the American Legion renovation plans. Kollmorgen and RU’s Alpha Phi Omega have volunteered for the beginning basic cleanup. There was a meeting last week and an outcome was the need for a design firm to come on board to better define needs.
Critterton shared information from a police “ride-out” (riding along with a police officer on part of a shift). She saw how the e-ticket system would be beneficial to officers to reduce the time in manually writing tickets, which should also make it safer for the officer. She will be looking to spend a shift with the fire department in the near future.
She recognized Sergeant Jacob Carper of Radford. Carper, with the 38th Infantry, was killed in action on October 11, 1918. He participated in six separate engagements, several of them major offensives.
Critterton said the Glencoe Heritage event was wonderful and complimented Director Scott Gardner on a job well-done. She also stated that the Radford Craft and Draft was a huge success. She mentioned that she and Huntington will be on a panel discussion entitled, “Why Now: Local Women in Politics,” from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 at RU.
Horton mentioned the recent challenges with storms. He commended the public works staff for taking care of the parks after the floods. Horton said the animal shelter was mostly spared but thanked all who fostered animals during that time. He talked about how Radford’s citizens, maintenance, fire, police and EMT staff all step-up when there is an emergency, and he complimented the utility workers who were able to restore electricity so quickly after the recent wind storm.
Horton was appreciative of all the wonderful things that were mentioned during the meeting and are happening in Radford. He said, “We need everybody to be a champion for this community and tell the story of the good things that are happening because that’s how we create the momentum that we need to move forward.”
The council held a closed session to conclude the meeting.