By Heather Bell
RADFORD – The Radford City Council approved an appropriation ordinance Monday to accept $4,114,196 in American Rescue Plan Act funds, which are federal funds dispersed to localities across the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city has not yet decided how to allocate the funds, but Radford Mayor David Horton said Monday council members and city staff would discuss it at the council’s retreat on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. Since the funds were not included in the city’s original budget, a public hearing was held to accept comments about the appropriation ordinance. No comments were made.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the council recognized October as National Arts and Humanities Month with a proclamation declaring the arts and humanities “the embodiment of all things beautiful and entertaining in the world.”
“The arts enhance every aspect of life in the City of Radford, improving our economy, enriching our civic life, driving tourism and exerting a profound positive influence on the education of our children,” said Horton in the reading of the ordinance. “Arts education research shows the arts foster discovery, creativity, imagination, self-expression, and problem-solving skills, while also helping to develop a heightened appreciation of beauty and cross-cultural understanding.”
Scott Gardner, Radford Heritage Foundation Executive Director and Director of Glencoe Mansion, Museum, and Gallery, provided his annual report to the city council, saying although Glencoe operations were “turned upside down” during the past year, the organization emerged on the other side of the pandemic stronger with a much increased social media presence, significant new donations of Wharton family furniture to the museum, a renovated gift shop and ground floor, and plans to increase the American Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility to the building. The foundation also produced two educational videos in conjunction with Radford City Public Schools on local Native American history and the Trigg architectural dig at what is now Bisset Park.
Gardner reported that the New River Train Observatory garnered national and international notice in the past year in architectural publications and that the gallery hosted five exhibits. The latest membership drive produced 117 Heritage Foundation members, bringing $13,000 to the budget, and the Radford Heritage Foundation received a $2,000 grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and a $600 grant from the Community Foundation of the NRV.
“Our operation is truly a community effort,” he said.
The next meeting of the Radford City Council is set for Monday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.