Election Day 2015

Friends,

It’s Election Day again! Four years ago, I was elected to my first term on the Blacksburg Town Council, and now John Bush, Leslie Hager-Smith, and I are running unopposed for our council seats. Thanks to your support and encouragement, these past few years have been phenomenal and I am proud of my record of service to our community:

  • Supported downtown businesses by voting to purchase land to expand public parking, establish a downtown refuse and recycling program, and create a Live/Work/Sell Arts Overlay District to encourage owner-occupied arts businesses near downtown
  • Celebrated the completion of the College Avenue Promenade and the opening of the IMAX at First & Main
  • Advocated for our fair share of transportation funds through my role as a town representative on the Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Worked to bring more affordable housing opportunities to our town through two years of service on the Blacksburg Housing and Community Development Advisory Board and support for rezoning requests on Grissom Lane and Givens Lane
  • Sought a pragmatic and sustainable approach to local development that allows Blacksburg to grow but protects neighborhoods and quality of life through votes on numerous rezoning requests and a five-year update to the town’s Comprehensive Plan
  • Served as a town representative on the 10-Year Economic Development Plan Steering Committee and the Blacksburg Partnership Board of Directors
  • Voted yes on resolutions to preserve Stadium Woods, save Harding Avenue Elementary School, and oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline

Continue reading “Election Day 2015”

2014 highlights

Friends,

With the New Year just around the corner, I would like to take this time to update you about my past 12 months. This has been a busy but productive year on the Blacksburg Town Council:

Economic development

  • Began appointment as a town representative to the Blacksburg Partnership Board of Directors in January. Previously, I had served for over two years on the Blacksburg Housing and Community Development Advisory Board.
  • Voted for special signage districts for the LewisGale Montgomery Regional Hospital, the North End Center, and First & Main. (The First & Main request originally called for a nearly 400-square-foot LED screen on the side of the new IMAX building, but this was pulled before the 6-1 vote.)
  • Voted to purchase the old Nerve building behind The Cellar in order to expand parking there. The town also completed a downtown parking study with input from downtown businesses and added more handicap and motorcycle parking spaces. Continue reading “2014 highlights”

2013 in review

Friends,

As the year comes to a close, I would once again like to update you about my past 12 months on the Blacksburg Town Council:

Economic development

  • Voted for an IMAX theater at First & Main.
  • Celebrated the completion of the College Avenue Promenade and voted for licenses for open air dining downtown.
  • Finished the 10-year update to the town’s Economic Development Plan. I served on the steering committee for the plan.
  • Voted for an operating agreement with the Alexander Black House and Cultural Foundation. Once the construction is finished, the building will attract more foot traffic downtown. Continue reading “2013 in review”

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. Continue reading “A look back at 2012”

‘Smart growth’ in Blacksburg

The following letter to the editor originally appeared in the Collegiate Times on Oct. 14, 2009:

What does “smart growth” mean, anyway?

In 2002, developer Bob Pack made plans for a 100,000-square-foot, two-building complex known as Kent Square. He envisioned office, retail and residential spaces in close proximity and sought $2 million in public funds for a 380-space parking garage for downtown shoppers and residents.

While some described the compact, mixed-use development as a prime example of “smart growth,” not everyone supported Pack’s vision for downtown Blacksburg. Opponents argued that the three-story structure would erode Blacksburg’s small town charm. With time the controversy subsided, and the two Kent Square buildings opened in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Continue reading “‘Smart growth’ in Blacksburg”