The story below is from our July/August 2015 issue. For the full story download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
What a difference 130 years makes.
The town of Vinton, with its longstanding tradition of community and hospitality, is now home to a new generation of residents: young families that grew up in town and are now raising their own children here; entrepreneurs and new business owners with bright visions and a passion for progress.
The recent revitalization of the town, both physical and occupational, allows this new crop of residents to co-exist with their neighbors who’ve lived in Vinton long enough to remember E. Vinton Elementary School and White Front Pharmacy. The Town of Vinton, along with the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce, continues to work towards integrating the old and the new, and making Vinton an even more livable place to call home.
On the Outside
The face of Vinton continues to grow and change four years after the town received a $700,000 grant to revitalize downtown. From renovating storefronts with new landscaping and signage to constructing a brand new library on the site of the former Dunman Floral Supply warehouse, the transformation is already making a tremendous difference in the community.
“ The past year and a half has really been full of doing the plans for all the work downtown,” says Ryan Spitzer, assistant town manager. “The town is finishing installing the streetlights on South Pollard Street and West Lee Avenue, as well as working on nine downtown facades, intersection work at Washington Avenue and South Pollard Street and renovation of the farmers market.”
It may be a work in progress, but Spitzer says they’ve received positive responses from residents and visitors on the work so far. “As projects are getting started and finished we have seen a lot more interest in downtown storefronts and businesses,” Spitzer says.
Of course, the most dramatic visual change to downtown is the new Vinton branch of the Roanoke County Library.
“ The space will have a teen room, kids room, music station, adult area, an outside sitting area with a fireplace and an outdoor screen for movies,” Spitzer says. There will also be a new coffee shop for residents to enjoy while perusing through books.
At the end of the day, the vision for downtown Vinton is to make the area more welcoming and inviting, with a mix of businesses—retail and restaurants—where residents and visitors can find what they need within walking distance.
“ The overarching goal is to have a downtown where people don’t park their cars and visit just on business, but where they park and stay for a couple of hours and visit multiple places,” Spitzer says.
On the Inside
Behind the new storefronts and beautiful new library are two other developments towards revitalization: branding and entrepreneurship.
The “Are You IN Vinton” campaign can be seen throughout the town, including the side of a public works truck and on every page of the town’s calendar.
As part of the revitalization grant, the Town of Vinton received a market study and branding development package that business and residents alike have warmly embraced.