Pulaski looking to revitalize its historic downtown

 

by Emily Ball, Dana Seigelstein–

The town of Pulaski is looking to bring their town a new look along with improving their population in the area.

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Pulaski, Va., May 8 – Main Street: Main Street in Pulaski is where most of the renovations are coming. On this strip, there will be a cafe that will feature New Orlean style food and plans to be open in the next six to eight months. Photo: Dana Seigelstein

 

The town of Pulaski’s downtown has been suffering from a lack of businesses and people visiting the area. Employees of the town have been striving to gather funds and host events to try and make their community a more happening place.

Nichole Hair, Deputy Town Manager and Zoning Administrator of the town of Pulaski, said when she was hired in 2016, they got two grants for doing some downtown planning efforts right off.

“Those two grants allowed us to hold community input meetings,” said Hair. “We did about 300 hours with 40 citizens, coming up with a vision for the downtown, coming up with a mission for the downtown and looking at the plans for the future.”

After getting a master plan, the committee then was able to apply for a large grant from the state, specifically from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The DHCD also provided the funding for the first two grants they received in 2016.

Pulaski is currently revitalizing West Main Street where 15 buildings are involved, street improvements, way-finding signage, and just a general facelift to that area. In addition to the front section of Main Street, there will be renovations to the backside of the structures, along Pete Creek.  These additions will be railings and signage for information and educational purposes.

Earlier this month, the town held a free conference for the community. According to the Roanoke Times, this event allowed community members to come and learn more about the changes that are coming to the area. They were able to see how to open a business or help out, have walking tours of the areas under construction and have one on one time to ask questions.

After the two day conference, Pulaski was announced to be one of the 15 communities participating in Local Foods, Local Places. This organization helps cities and towns protect their environment and human health. According to the LFLP website, two of their 2019 partners reside in Virginia and are no longer accepting new applications until late summer.

As the town is taking actions to change, Mayor Dave Clark says that he sees the future of Pulaski being a place that people want to be and call their home. He says that the process of incoming businesses is interesting since they are not apart of a large change. While there is no compiled list of incoming business entering Pulaski, there is a large number of people who have expressed their interest.

“I ask for people to come and visit us,” said Mayor Clark. “We are a jewel in the New River Valley. Anywhere in the New River Valley is a great place to live, but Pulaski is home.” As Pulaski continues to evolve, Mayor Clark says that he is very proud of his town, past, present and excited to see what the future will bring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community comes together to help local business

by Emily Ball–

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Roanoke, Va., April 26 – Closed: Community Inn Restaurant days after it went up in flames on Easter morning. Employees of the restaurant have been coming by during their work shifts to help start cleaning up the inside while they wait for the building status. Photo: Emily Ball

 

Early Easter morning tragedy struck the Community Inn Restaurant when a fire started inside the building, destroying a major part of the back section. Employees at the restaurant have heard the fire began from a cigarette in a trash can. However, officials have not publicly released the reason.  According to a statement by WSLS, Community Inn was a restaurant that in fact allowed smoking inside the building.

While the fire has left the business closed just for a week, it still does not seem real for Mont Morrow, Co-owner of the Community Inn. “I still think some of it still hasn’t sunk all the way in,” said Morrow. “It affects a lot of people, but the community has come together.”

Ever since the fire occurred, businesses and patrons of the area have started doing what they can to help out. Morrow said that several businesses have offered shifts to their employees to help with the unemployment as well as others doing a fundraiser to help raise money.

“I knew we would have support, but I never imagined it’d be like this,” said Morrow.

With all of the support coming from the community, Tony Pearman, a friend of Mont Morrow, took the lead on making a main GoFundMe account. Pearman started the goal at $50,000 since the owners are uncertain of the amount they will need to repair. According to the account so far, they have raised $12,676 from 176 people since created last week.

“We know that insurance isn’t going to cover everything,” said Pearman. “One of the biggest repercussions in why we started the crowd funding thing was for the challenge for the employees who are not paid salary.”

Even with this heartbreaking event, members of the community have lessened the grief of the fire by stepping up to help their own. With all the support, Community Inn hopes to open its doors as soon as possible to continue serving the Roanoke area.

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Jada Sanders, Community Inn Manager
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Lauren Gilley, Community Inn Bartender
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Linni Mowles, Community Inn Bartender

Radford City Schools search for answers for major renovations

by Emily Ball–

Two schools in the Radford City Public School system needs many renovations, however, have been faced with the obstacle of funding.

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Radford, Va., April 3 – New changes: The projected plans for McHarg Elementary School. The school will house students Pre-K through second grade along with a new security system making all visitors entering the school come directly into the main office. Photo: Emily Ball

 

Radford High School and McHarg Elementary School are in need some renovations within the school system, however, finding the funding to pay for the multimillion-dollar facelift has been hard to come by.

To date, the cost of repairs is totaled up to 34 million dollars. Which has increased by 10 million dollars in the past three years and left school board members rushing to figure out a plan before cost continue to increase.

Superintendent Robert Graham said Dr. Becky Greer, the previous superintendent, goals were to either completely rebuild or renovate McHarg. This school is the oldest in the county, dating back to the 1950s.

According to the Radford Journal, Graham became superintendent in 2015 after serving the previous five years as assistant superintendent. He did a facility study on the county schools to see what the main priorities were. The biggest safety issue the schools faced was the current status of the roofs. The school, themselves, were able to completely fund the 2-million-dollar project allowing Graham to move forward.

“Our next priorities were going to be the renovating the locker rooms and the gym, those are 50 years old,” said Graham. “McHarg needed certainly some updates and renovations and then the high school needed a facelift too.”

Once the priorities were uncovered, the school board compiled a list and headed to the city council along with a time frame for completion.

According to the Roanoke Times, City Council announced on April 3, to advertise a 6-cent increase in taxes which will go towards helping the schools. The public hearing for this opposition will be on April 15.

While this tax increase is an idea, the hopes of completing the renovations might be slower than the school board originally thought. “City council is really struggling because the City of Radford is just getting back on its feet financially,” said Elizabeth Altieri, active school board member. “Some of our frustration comes from the new council thinking they would be eager to fund the school, it just hasn’t happened that way.”

Altieri says that while this is a struggle, they have recognized that this is the first time that the city council and school board have collaborated on a project and that the willingness is there.

Top Five Pizza Joints in Blacksburg

by Emily Ball–

Photo on Foter.com

 

Of course, pizza is something that usually everyone can agree on, but wouldn’t it be nice to know where some of the best pizza places are in the area? Well, I have you covered. Here are my top five picks for the best pizza joints in Blacksburg, Va.

  1. Avellino’s1440 S. Main St. STE 110 Blacksburg, VA 24060

Avellino’s restaurant overall is rather good. They have a nice variety of food ranging from pastas, to pizza, to burgers to seafood. The food can tend to be pricey, but you are paying for quality food. The pizza is particularly good and they have a good amount of choices.  My personal favorite pizza there the ‘White Pizza’ which has ricotta and mozzarella cheese only.

  1. Mellow Mushroom207 S Main St, Blacksburg, VA 24060

Although Mellow Mushroom is a ‘chain’ restaurant, it definitely makes the cut for best pizza joints. They have a wide variety of pizza choices along with other aspects like calzones or sandwiches. Price wise, they are rather decent. They have many pizzas recipes to choose, and all are pretty great.

  1. PK’s Bar and Grill432 N Main St B, Blacksburg, VA 24060

PK’s is definitely is one of my most recommended, which is why it falls in the top three. They have so many great elements when you go in-person and delivery is usually quick. Their pizza is amazing there, especially the buffalo chicken pizza. It’s something I get every time I go.  Along with their great pizza, they have awesome deals. There is a day where you can flip a coin for a free pizza, if you call it right.

  1. The Beast of Blacksburg860 University City Blvd # 107, Blacksburg, VA 24060

The Beast is the type of place that does not disappoint. Hands down, one of the quickest deliveries that will get you your pizza there and tasting like it just came out of the oven. It is one of the more expensive places, but as mentioned, you won’t be disappointed with their pizza. Their white sauce pizzas are to die for. Every pizza I have had is simply delicious.

  1. Benny Marzano’s110 Draper Rd NW, Blacksburg, VA 24060

Benny’s pizza is my most favorite college town pizza. Not only is the pizza great and the slices huge, it’s also very affordable. It is around $5 for a slice alone. I do know that buying a whole pizza is rather expensive, however, is a great way to split with a group of friends. Benny’s pizza is very popular among Virginia Tech students, especially on late nights. They are open most nights until 3 a.m. for students to swing by for pizza or for delivery.