Thursday, November 29, 2012

Preservation Foundation Issues 2012 Awards

Winners of the Preservation Foundation's Annual Awards at the Transportation Museum tonight.
Restaurants, a renovated service station, downtown lofts, a restored locomotive, a garden club and the Fitzpatrick family are among the 11 recipients of awards presented by Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation at its 2012 annual meeting Thursday.

Each year, the Foundation calls attention to the values of restoring and reusing older structures, encourages stewardship of these buildings and also recognizes environmental projects and individual achievement. “This year’s list has a great deal of diversity—both in building types, recipients and location—which speaks to the vibrancy of preservation in the valley,” said Alison Blanton, Foundation president.

The awards include the typical downtown development projects, as well as new building types such as a gas station and new areas like Williamson Road and Wasena. A family and two civic organizations are recognized for their efforts to preserve local history in its various forms.

The River House
“We are especially excited to give awards to two projects—1222 Campbell Avenue, SW, and Mill Mountain—which were previously on our endangered sites list,” Blanton said.   
The 11 awards recipients:
  •             16 West Marketplace, 16 W. Church Ave.
  •             Carlin’s Amoco Station, 1721 Williamson Road
  •             Woolworth Building, 24-28 Campbell Ave, SW
  •              River House, 806 Wasena Ave., SW
  •              River and Rail Restaurant, 2201 Crystal Spring Ave., SW
  •              Lofts at West Station, 357 Salem Ave., SW
  •              1222 Campbell Ave., SW
  •              Habitat for Humanity, Hurt Park, Old Southwest neighborhoods
  •              Chesapeake Western diesel engine 662, Virginia Museum of Transportation
  •              Mill Mountain Garden Club, Mill Mountain Park
  •              Helen Fitzpatrick and sons Beverly Jr., Eric and Broaddus
              116 West, Carlin’s Amoco, Woolworth Building, River House, River and Rail and the Lofts were cited for adaptive reuse; 1222 Campbell, for renovation; Habitat for Humanity, for renovation and compatible infill development; Engine 662, restoration; Mill Mountain Garden Club, environmental stewardship, and the Fitzpatrick family, lifetime achievement.
Carlin’s Amoco station was built in 1947 and operated as a gas service station until the 1980s when it remained vacant until Berglund Automotive Group bought it in 1998 and began renovating it for office space. Among the original details preserved and restored are the entrance pylon with glass block strips, large display windows and garage doors. The station is a symbol of the development of Williamson Road as a center for auto sales and service.
16 West
 Bill Elliot bought two vacant, adjoining Woolworth buildings, dating from the early 1900s, and converted them into three commercial spaces, 11 apartments and an interior garage. The art deco buildings housed a confectionary, hardware store and later Woolworth, until it closed in 1994. The buildings had a number of design challenges, such as a four-foot difference in elevation from one side to another. In 1949, the buildings were encased in light, beige brick, with stone coping and aluminum storefront.
The River House was a cold storage operation, Roanoke’s main source of ice, from the early 1920s until the 1990s. Developer Ed Walker has renovated the formerly vacant building for 128 apartment units, a restaurant and tap house and a rock climbing wall. The structure overlooks Roanoke River and its greenway in the Wasena neighborhood.
Whit and Lauren Ellerman and Kari and Lee Atwood have converted the former Lipes Pharmacy in the Crystal Spring neighborhood of South Roanoke into River and Rail Restaurant. The pharmacy operated from 1929 until it closed in 2011. The only exterior change in the rehabilitation was addition of an awning on the front fa├žade. An old Lipes Pharmacy logo and storefront aluminum were retained.
Campbell Ave. home
Bill Chapman, a Richmond developer, took a four-story warehouse built in 1903 for Lindsey-Robinson, a milling company, along with an adjoining 1912 warehouse for Victory Specialty Co., and produced 71 apartment units, a movie theater and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer’s restaurant, with an outdoor dining patio. Natural light for the interior was provided by an atrium, used as a model by the National Park Service.

In another John Garland project, a long-vacant craftsman bungalow at 1222 Campbell has been renovated as a home for his son, Aaron Garland and his wife. The 96-year-old house retains such architectural details as exposed rafters, soffits, original plaster and wood floors and restored wood casement windows.

Habitat for Humanity has been constructing compatible, residential infill and renovating historic homes in the Hurt Park and Old Southwest neighborhoods since 2009. Habitat is contributing to the integrity and character of neighborhoods, in addition to providing a home for a deserving family. New homes are compatible with existing houses and those renovated kept many original features, such as hardwood floors, leaded glass transoms and mantle pieces. Twelve new homes and three renovations have been completed.

Diesel-Electric Engine 662, built in 1946 when steam locomotives were replaced, was restored by the Roanoke chapter of the National Railway Historical Society at Virginia Museum of Transportation. The engine was used by Chesapeake Western Railway in the Shenandoah Valley until it was retired in 1964 and left rusting as one of the “Lost Engines of Roanoke” at Virginia Scrap Iron & Metal. That firm donated the engine, an outstanding example of an historically accurate cosmetic rail restoration, to the museum.
Carlin's Amaco
 Mill Mountain Garden Club has maintained a wildflower garden on a 2.5-acre tract atop Mill Mountain for almost 40 years. The club recently planted five blight-resistant chestnut trees there and installed a chestnut “education box” to dispense information about the endangered trees. The club has provided a water recycling system, plant markers, a woodland outdoor classroom and many native wildflowers, shrubs and trees.
The family of the late Judge Beverly T. Fitzpatrick has made many contributions to the Roanoke Valley. The judge was a leader in restoration of the high school as the Jefferson Center. Helen Fitzpatrick has written many notes of celebration, encouragement and sympathy for years. She has been an elder and Bible teacher at Second Presbyterian Church, a reader for the blind and a community supporter. Of her three sons, Beverly T. Fitzpatrick Jr., has led the Transportation Museum to a strong position as a repository of trains, planes and all forms of transportation. A former vice mayor and City Council member, he has held executive posts in banking and education.
Diesel 622
Eric Fitzpatrick, an award-winning artist, has won recognition for paintings with both his right and left hands. His works in oils, watercolors and pastels of landscapes, seascapes and Valley events, are widely held. Washington & Lee University produced a film of his work. Broaddus Fitzpatrick, an environmentalist and retired lawyer, has held leadership roles in Western Virginia Land Trust, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway and he worked as a conservation easement specialist. He served on the Blue Ridge Soil and Water District board and has worked on wind energy, mountaintop coal removal and uranium mining issues.
 The awards were presented at the annual meeting of the Foundation at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. 

Wayne Henderson, leading petroleum industry historian from North Carolina, talked on the historic gasoline stations of Roanoke. Henderson maintains the world's largest information and photo archives on gas stations and has authored or co-authored 16 books about petroleum industry history and petroleum collectibles. 

Startup Virginia Starts Up Tonight in Roanoke

Roanoke's first StartUp Virginia group has been organized as an initiative of the White House to provide guidance, support, and solutions to help small business owners manage and grow their business.

Samantha Steidle of Business Lounge
Startup America was launched at the White House in response to a call to foster the growth of entrepreneurship. Samantha Steidle of the Roanoke Business Lounge will launch StartUp Virginia here in the Roanoke/Blacksburg region.

“Innovation is key to local success,” says Steidle. “StartUp Virginia is focused on making Roanoke a great place to start and grow small businesses.” The goal is to strengthen our local and state entrepreneurial ecosystem."

The first “StartUp MeetUp” event in downtown Roanoke will be held Thursday, November 29 (tonight), 2012 at 5 p.m. at Blue 5 Restaurant to celebrate the launch of StartUp Virginia in the Roanoke/Blacksburg region.

 Group members share resources to improve everyone's chances of success. Sponsors of Roanoke StartUp MeetUp include Roanoke Business Lounge, Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, Downtown Roanoke, Inc., StartUp Virginia and Blue Ridge Copier.

"We're looking for a core group of entrepreneurs stepping up to say, 'I get it,'" says Donna Harris, "Where we have that, we will launch a region. No one owns it. It's a team of co-leaders."

"We also need to ask entrepreneurs what they need,' adds Harris "One thing startups have told us they need is mentors. Does your community have breadth and depth of mentors?" If you are interested in supporting or starting a small business please contact Roanoke

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tech Approves Unique Real Estate Program

Beginning in the fall of 2013 Virginia Tech will offer a Bachelor of Science Degree program in real estate, becoming the nation’s first interdisciplinary undergraduate program to include academic strengths in architecture, building construction, business, applied economics, engineering, property management, and natural resources management.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors unanimously approved a resolution to create this new degree program during its quarterly meeting today. The new program, pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, will prepare students with the decision making, risk-evaluation, ethical-behavior, negotiation, communication, team-work, analytical and leadership skills to become leaders in the complex real estate industry that faces diminished public confidence following the recent market collapse and the challenge of building sustainable living and work space for a growing population.

EventZone, Roanoke End Long Affiliation

Festival in the Park is a signature event for EventZone
Roanoke City has ended its 43-year affiliation with EventZone, which produced several of its festivals and events. Jill Sluss, executive director of EventZone, says she welcomes the opportunities presented by opening up the field for the organization to pursue other localities to work with. Downtown Roanoke Inc. will take over organizing Roanoke's festivals and events.

Said Sluss, "With the temporary closing of Elmwood Park, we have been concerned about adequate facilities for our signature events. This decision opens the door to endless possibilities for partnering with other localities. We are excited at the enormous opportunity this presents."

She added that EventZone will continue to produce events such as Festival in the Park, the Cabin Fever Series and Party in the Park. The change will be adding new venues capable of hosting EventZone's events."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Localities to the Rescue of SPCA in Roanoke Area

The Roanoke Valley SPCA and area municipalities today jointly announced an agreement to create a new entity to operate the Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection.

“In agreement with the City of Roanoke, counties of Roanoke and Botetourt, and the Town of Vinton, the Roanoke Valley SPCA board has decided that it’s in the best long-term interest of all parties to let the local jurisdictional owners assume operational responsibility of the regional center,” says Chris Morrill, Roanoke’s city manager.

Barbara Dalhouse, president of the RVSPCA’s board of directors, says: “Given the public confusion over the current arrangement, we and the municipalities felt it was important for the RVSPCA to focus exclusively on its unwavering mission to improve the quality of life for animals and the people they touch in the Roanoke Valley.”

“The current facility was an important step forward for care of abandoned animals when it opened,” Morrill says. “With changing needs in the Roanoke Valley, we see this as an opportunity to consider innovative methods of achieving success in all areas of animal control, including enforcement, increasing adoptions, the encouragement of spay/neuter programs and the provision of humane sheltering for the animals.”

The RVSPCA has operated its education and adoption facility to better coordinate animal adoptions. Since 2004, the organization has placed 14,585 animals into adoption. In the past year alone, more than 11,000 distinct medical services were provided to animals in the care of both the RVSPCA and the regional center.

Over the next several months, the participating localities will work with the RVSPCA to transition control and operations of the regional center to a new board appointed by the local governments. The RVSPCA will continue to support the regional center with adoption services.

In addition, Morrill says local governments are reviewing their animal control policies and procedures in conjunction with the anticipated transition of the regional center’s operation.

“We believe this agreement will provide a sound structure for the future of the RVSPCA, eliminating an issue that has taken the focus away from what's most important – finding loving homes for our animals and promoting spaying and neutering as the best way to reduce the amount of unwanted pets,” Dalhouse said. “We look forward to working with the municipalities to ensure a smooth transition for the regional center and will continue to be available as a leading choice for animal adoption.”

Roanoke Hires Economic Development Director

Wayne Bowers, new Roanoke economic development director
Wayne Bowers has been named Director of the Department of Economic Development for the City of Roanoke.  As Economic Development Director, Bowers will manage and direct all activities involving economic development for the city.

"I am pleased to have Wayne Bowers lead our Economic Development team," says City Manager Chris Morrill.  "His long experience in local government will be a great asset to Roanoke as we continue to work to expand our existing business community and attract businesses to locate in our city."
Bowers holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.; a Master of Arts degree in American history from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.
He has worked in local government since 1973, most recently as City Manager of the City of Greenville, N.C.  His work experience includes serving as Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Tallahassee, Fla.; City Manager of the City of Jacksonville Beach, Fla.; City Manager of the City of Huntington, W.Va.; City Manager of the City of Spartanburg, S.C.; City Manager of the City of Gainesville, Fla.
Bowers has been active in organizations such as the International City/County Management Association (ICMA); American Society for Public Administration; North Carolina City and County Management Association; North Carolina 911 Board; Pitt County United Way Board of Directors; and Greenville Noon Rotary Club.
He is an ICMA Credentialed Manager, and has served on the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (2004-2012); Pitt County Committee of 100 Board of Directors (2004-2012); North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM) Tax & Finance Legislative Action Committee (2012); NCLM Planning & Services Legislative Action Committee (2005-2008); East Carolina University Master Plan Advisory Committee, (2008-2011); Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (1995-2004); Carolinas Innovation Group, founding member and Chairman (1989-1991); and the State of Florida Community Development Advisory Committee (1981-1983).