Thursday, January 03, 2013

Only 1 person speaks at Vinton grant forum

Vinton officials held the first of two public hearings Wednesday evening to get community input on the town's use of grant money to improve its downtown.

In June, Vinton secured $700,000 in grant money for downtown revitalization through Community Development Block Grant funding.

It was the town's second attempt at earning the funds and was part of more than $6.2 million of funding for nine projects in the state.

During a brief hearing Wednesday, just one person spoke suggesting town officials consider wireless Internet downtown and working with the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau on marketing efforts.

The grant funds will be used for street-side improvements, partnering with businesses to improve building facades, a revolving loan fund to help small businesses grow and marketing and advertising to promote downtown.

Ryan Spitzer, assistant to the town manager, said during the meeting some plans include plantings and lighting along streets, parking improvements at the post office and resurfacing of the farmer's market parking lot among other items.

Officials said an additional hearing will likely be held in February or later this month. Town officials will also be holding meetings with the downtown management team, a group of area stakeholders, about design specifics.

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