A look back at 2012

Friends,

I hope this note finds you and yours well this holiday season. As the year comes to a close, I would like to take some time to recap the Blacksburg Town Council’s work in 2012:

Economic development

  • Reached out to citizens, business owners, and community leaders to update the town’s 10-year economic development plan. (I served on the steering committee for the update this summer.)
  • Began implementing the Blacksburg Business Climate Task Force’s recommendations to improve how our government relates with the business community.
  • Started construction on the College Avenue Promenade, which will create outdoor dining spaces for downtown restaurants.
  • Established an Arts and Cultural District to offer financial incentives for qualified arts businesses downtown.

Regional cooperation

  • Scheduled a public hearing for next month on a joinder agreement that adds Montgomery County to the regional water system.
  • Continued progress on boards and committees with regional representation. (For example, I serve on the board for the Metropolitan Planning Organization, which oversees regional transportation planning. The MPO expanded to include the City of Radford this year.)

Smart growth

  • Approved a five-year update to the Comprehensive Plan, which streamlines the plan and emphasizes the town’s commitment to sustainability and citizen involvement.
  • Passed a resolution in support of saving Stadium Woods.

Strong neighborhoods

  • Approved new code enforcement tools to address over-occupancy.
  • Passed a resolution in support of neighborhood schools, including Harding Avenue Elementary School.
  • Established a Live/Work/Sell Arts Overlay District to encourage owner-occupied arts businesses in the residential area east of downtown.

This year, the town council also reviewed several requests to rezone property for student housing developments and held several high-profile meetings on the future of the Old Blacksburg Middle School property. Major land-use decisions will likely dominate our discussions in 2013.

This is an exciting time for Blacksburg, and I look forward to continuing to serve our community. As always, I welcome your questions and comments. Please do not hesitate to contact me at (540) 257-4951 or msutphin@blacksburg.gov.

Best wishes for the New Year,

Michael

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