By Debbie Adams
The focus of Vinton Town Council at the meeting on November 2 was on employees, beginning with the Police Department, but also welcoming two new employees to the Finance Department/Treasurer’s Office.
Finance Director/Treasurer Anne Cantrell first introduced Kimberly Hunter who will serve as financial analyst for Vinton. She is a graduate of James River High School and has lived in Vinton since 2010. She attended classes for Radio and Television Broadcasting at Virginia Western Community College, but ultimately decided on a career with Walmart. There she experienced many job positions and gained much knowledge as a manager/supervisor for 22 years.
After her retirement from Walmart, she spent several years at Suburban Propane learning utility aspects and customer account management.
Hunter is the mother of twin girls and also two bonus daughters with her engagement to Jeff Ramsey. She enjoys spending time with her family and participating in activities within the community. She works part-time at the Vinton Moose Lodge, and says she loves live music, UVA athletics, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cantrell then introduced Mary Butler, who will serve as the Finance Office Customer Service representative. She has lived in the Roanoke County/Vinton area her entire life. She is married to Brian Butler, a science teacher at William Byrd. Their son Matthew is assistant manager of the Vinton Macado’s. Their daughter lives and works in North Carolina. All are proud graduates of William Byrd High School. She and her family attend and are involved in the activities at Campbell Memorial Presbyterian Church in Vinton. Their family also includes three cats and a dog.
Butler has an extensive administrative, financial and clerical background. She has worked with several local governments including Roanoke County and the Town of Troutville, “leading me to want to work with the Town of Vinton.”
She enjoys planning trips and traveling with her family. Her favorite vacation spots are Disney World and the North Myrtle Beach area. Over the past few years, the family has travelled to the Bahamas, Niagara Falls, Boston and Key West and hope to make a trip out west in the near future. She is a Virginia Tech fan and enjoys watching college football and basketball, especially ACC games.
Planning and Zoning Director Anita McMillan presented to council the 2021 ISA Gold Leaf Award from the International Society of Arboriculture for the town’s “outstanding Arbor Day activities.”
The award recognizes individuals, organizations, and communities at the local or regional level for either outstanding Arbor Day activities or for outstanding landscape beautification activities as submitted by an ISA Chapter. This is an opportunity for ISA chapters to acknowledge projects which have had a significant impact upon a community or region, usually over a period of several years.
The Town of Vinton celebrates Arbor Day enthusiastically each year, including Town Council and staff, local school children, and the Virginia Department of Forestry. In 2021, the Arbor Day festivities were combined with a ribbon-cutting at the Glade Creek Greenway Phase II.
The Town of Vinton has been designated a Tree City USA Community for 19 years. To maintain that designation, the town is required to hold an Arbor Day Celebration, along with tree plantings and tree education outreach each year.
Over the years, town staff, led by McMillan, has secured Valley Beautiful and Virginia Department of Forestry grant funding, enabling the town to plant trees on public properties, including the elementary schools in Vinton, the Vinton History Museum, the Wolf Creek and Glade Creek Greenways, M.A. Banks Park, and on the grounds of Vinton Public Works, the Vinton War Memorial, the Vinton Municipal Building, and the Craig Avenue Recreation Center.
Council took action to dissolve the Vinton Advisory Committee. Town Executive Assistant Susan Johnson briefed council on this topic at the October 19 meeting. This committee was established on November 16, 2016, for the purpose of reviewing the components of the Gainsharing Agreement and 13 members were appointed to serve. Due to the fact that the committee never held an organizational meeting, several of the members are no longer employed by the town, and the Gainsharing Agreement has now been replaced with an MOU dated April 9, 2019, staff recommended that the Vinton Advisory Committee be dissolved.
Council also took action to adopt a resolution authorizing the town manager to execute the Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund (ESHPF) Sub-Award Agreement and the Historic Preservation Agreement Deed for the Gish Mill Redevelopment project from the Virginia Department for Historic Resources (DHR). Council was briefed on these agreements at the October 19 meeting.
The historic mill is slated for mixed-use development by Gish Davii, LLC, to include lodging/hospitality, a seasonal market, and a restaurant.
The ESHPF SubAward Agreement is for $250,000 in grant funds to be used for the stabilization and repair work to be undertaken at the Gish Mill site as a part of the large revitalization of this historic structure as follows:
- Structural design and engineering plans and reviews necessary for the flood recovery and rehabilitative work
- Historic documentation and application for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places
- Hydrologic and hydraulic (H&H) study proving no-rise will occur in the flood heights
- Repair and stabilization construction work within the attach scope of work document
The scope of the work includes $207,500 for stabilization and repair; $30,000 for the structural design for flood recovery and rehabilitation; $7500 for the H & H study; and $5000 for finalizing the National Register of Historic Places.
The funds will support stabilization and repair of Gish Mill which was damaged by Hurricanes Florence and Michael due to high water from the adjacent Glade Creek.
The scope of work for the Stabilization and Demolition Plan is to provide a two-phase approach:
- Phase 1–Conduct an investigative demolition and stabilization (permanent and temporary) as needed of the existing structure to assess conditions and determine the existing building components that need to be repaired or replaced in kind.
- Phase 2–During and after the investigative demolition and stabilization phase, provide detailed scope of work for building components once condition has been assessed and appropriate treatment determined.
Specific actions will include providing openings in the concrete walls in some sections to gain access to the conditions of the interior; carefully removing vegetation (interior and exterior) in a manner that will not damage the historic fabric; providing underpinning in some areas for temporary stabilization; reinstalling loose brick; cleaning and repointing historic masonry and mortar; providing temporary scaffolding to stabilize the floors and stairs; removing and storing historic flooring for reinstallation; removing roof and walls of the non-historic addition, retaining the concrete slab, landing and ramp; and providing subgrade bank stabilization.
The Historic Preservation Agreement Deed allows for DHR to enforce the preservation of any historic resources that benefit from a funding source like the ESHPF grant program.
Town Manager Pete Peters noted that representatives from DHR and the David Hill Studio met with town staff for a comprehensive tour of Gish Mill last week and were “impressed by the scale and complexity of the project” and the effort the Town of Vinton has put forth to maintain the architectural, historic, and cultural significance of the treasured historic property.